China's Foreign Policy and National Security


China's Foreign Policy and National Security


Course description

The rise of China is one of the most important developments of our era. Within 30 years, China has transformed from a poor and isolated country to an economic and political power with growing influence in the global system. This is an ongoing process, and it is difficult to predict how it will continue. This course examines the rise of modern China, the reforms it is going through and its integration within the global system, focusing mainly on its foreign policy and national security.The course objective is to familiarize students with the basic characteristics and motives of China's foreign policy and national security through analytical presentations of major models, concepts and historical events. 

Dr. Yoram Evron


Course content

I. Historical and Ideological Background


1.      World order and the role of military power in Imperial China

2.      The birth of the Chinese Communist Party and Mao Zedong's military thought


II. FP and National Security in the Maoist Era


3.      The Sino-Soviet alliance and the Korean War

4.      The leftist radicalization in China and the Sino-Soviet-American triangle (I)

5.      China's foreign and military policies during the Culture Revolution


III. FP and National Security in the Reform Era


6.      The Four Modernizations policy and the implications on China's foreign policy and national security

7.      Military modernization during the reform era

8.      The Tiananmen crisis and the Beijing-Moscow-Washington triangle (III)

9.      The Taiwan crisis (1995/6) and its implications

10.  Chinese perceptions of traditional and nontraditional threats in the early 21st century


IV. Students presentations


Reading List


Historical and Ideological Background

Kenneth Lieberthal, Governing China: From Revolution through Reform (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), pp. 3-26, 39-56.

Mao Zedong, On Guerrilla Warfare (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). See also:


The Maoist Era

Lieberthal, Governing China, pp. 85-121.

Politics, FP and National Security in the Reform Era

Lieberthal, Governing China, pp. 124-154.

Paul H.B. Godwin, "Compensating for Deficiencies: Doctrinal Evolution in the Chinese People's Liberation Army: 1978-1999," in J. Mulvenon and A. Yang (eds.), Seeking truth from Facts: A Retrospective on Chinese Military Studies in the Post-Mao Era (Santa Monica: RAND, 2001), pp. 87-118. 

Ellis Joffe, "Shaping China's Next Generation of Military Leaders: For What Kind of Army?", in Kamphausen, Roy, Andrew Scobell and Travis Tanner (eds.), The 'People' in the PLA: Recruitment, Training, and Education in China's Military (Carlisle: SSI, U.S. Army War College, 2008), pp. 353-388.

Susan L. Craig, Chinese Perceptions of Traditional and Nontraditional Security Threats (Carlisle: SSI, U.S. Army War College, 2007), pp. 101-129.

Schweller, Randall L. and Pu Xiaoyu, "After Unipolarity: China's Visions of International Order in an Era of U.S. Decline," International Security 36 (1) (Summer 2011), pp. 41-72.


Reading materials for case studies (basic list)


China and the Iranian nuclear crisis

Parris Chang, "China's Policy toward Iran: Arms for Oil?" China Brief 8 (21) (18 November 2008).

Manochehr Dorraj and Carrie L. Currier, "Lubricated with Oil: Iran-China Relations in a Changing World," Middle East Policy 15 (2) (Summer 2008), pp. 66-80.

Yitzhak Shichor, "Hobson's Choice: China's Second Worst Option on Iran," China Brief 10 (6) (18 March 2010).

China's expanding global military presence

Li Mingjiang, "China's Gulf of Aden Expedition and Maritime Cooperation in East Asia", China Brief 9 (1) (12 January 2009), pp. 5-8. 

Michael S. Chase and Andrew S. Erickson, "Changes in Beijing's Approach to Overseas Basing? China Brief 9 (19) (24 September 2009).


China's military diplomacy

Drew Thompson, "Beijing's Participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations," China Brief 5 (11) (May 10 2005). 

David Shinn, "Chinese Involvement in African Conflict Zones," China Brief 9 (7) (2 April 2009).


China's anti-terrorism approach

Pan Guang, "East Turkestan Terrorism and the Terrorist Arc: China's Post-9/11 Anti-Terror Strategy," China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly 4 (2) (2006), pp. 19-24.

Yoram Evron, "China's Anti-Terrorism Policy," Strategic Assessment 10 (3) (December 2007), pp. 76-83. 



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