In This Review

China's Rise in Asia: Promises and Perils
China's Rise in Asia: Promises and Perils
By Robert G. Sutter
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, 312 pp.
China Rising: Power and Motivation in Chinese Foreign Policy
China Rising: Power and Motivation in Chinese Foreign Policy
Edited by Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, 360 pp.

Although both of these books deal with the rise of China in world politics, their emphasis is significantly different. Sutter's focus is on the United States' China policy and on China's relations with its Asian neighbors, whereas the symposium edited by Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang concentrates more on China's domestic reactions -- particularly on its dissatisfaction with its status in the international system.

Sutter, a veteran U.S. government analyst, skillfully weaves together recent history, current events, and future projections of Asian developments. He is particularly sensitive to how China's "rise to great-power status" will affect U.S.-China relations. Will it bring greater cooperation or more competition between the two powers? Will it be peaceful or follow the historic pattern of a new power upsetting the international order and starting a war? Sutter is generally optimistic as he points out ways in which all concerned have learned how to avoid conflicts and seek cooperation.

About half of the contributors to the Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang volume were Chinese citizens before becoming professors at American universities and thus are sensitive to what motivates Chinese foreign policy. Their contributions deal with such dimensions of foreign policy as the pursuit of regime stability, the search for prosperity and economic growth, and the desire for "international status," not just power. There are insightful contributions about how features of Chinese nationalism affect foreign policy and how China has moved beyond its traditional distrust of multilateral diplomacy. To its credit, the Chinese leadership is aware that China's rise has both advantages and disadvantages -- and they have thus been quick to stress that the rise will be peaceful, at least if they have their way.