In This Review

Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia
Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia
By Evelyn Goh
Oxford University Press, 2016, 304 pp

Even as China’s power increases, the country does not always get what it wants from its regional neighbors. Goh and her contributors explore the complex interplay of pressure and resistance in China’s relations with Myanmar, North Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, as well as China’s role in regional issues such as dam building, monetary policy, and human rights. These interesting essays go beyond the standard chronology of diplomatic interactions to probe factors that amplify or impede Chinese influence. China’s neighbors may cooperate for economic gain, or to manage troublesome borders, or simply because they share China’s preferences. When necessary, they yield to China’s superior force. But they also fear Chinese dominance and tend to side with India, Japan, and especially the United States whenever those powers are available. Domestic politics in these countries also play a role. Corruption may make it easier for China to gain access to local decision-makers, but it can also generate scandal. Pro- and anti-China factions often form in these countries, and Beijing’s gains can be reversed because of shifts in public opinion or leadership.