One Asia Forum Talk Series: “Qing Regional Hegemony in East Asia: War, Diplomacy, and the Pursuit of Power”

Speaker: Professor Yuan-kang Wang (Western Michigan University)

* Open to the public. All are welcome.

Qing Regional Hegemony in East Asia 1

Can Chinese history tell us anything about China’s rise today? This talk will examine how the Manchus of Qing China (1644-1911) rose to preeminence and established regional hegemony in East Asia. By integrating international relations theory with Chinese history, this talk will demonstrate how a rising state expands political interests abroad and establishing rules of the game for the system. The Manchus of the Qing dynasty expanded from a small area in present northeastern China to become the preponderant state in East Asia, its hegemony lasting more than 150 years. The Qing conquered Ming China, Mongolia, and Xinjiang, and incorporated Tibet into the empire. Qing rulers skillfully adopted a strategy of domination that combined both force and diplomacy and used its preponderant power to establish tributary rules of the game to govern interactions between political actors in the system. Through the use of military force and institutional innovation, the Manchus were able to achieve regional hegemony in East Asia and eliminate security challenges to its dominance. The present boundary of China is a legacy of Qing territorial reach. Like its imperial predecessor, China’s current rise cannot be divorced from a consideration of relative power. The international distribution of power holds the key to understanding Chinese foreign policy today.

Qing Regional Hegemony in East Asia 2About the speaker: Yuan-kang Wang is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Western Michigan University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, and was an International Security Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (2001-2002) and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (2005-2006). Dr. Wang specializes in international relations, historical China, Taiwan security, and U.S.-China relations. His research examines the nexus between international relations theory and historical China. He is author of Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics (Columbia University Press, 2011), which debunks the myth of Confucian pacifism in Chinese grand strategy, use of force, and war aims. He has published journal articles on peripheral nationalism in China, nationalist mobilization during Taiwan’s democratization, U.S. extended deterrence in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan public opinion on cross-Strait security, and a realist explanation of the Sinocentric tribute system.