The Historical Experience of the Transformation of the Asia-Pacific Order and Its Future Development Direction

  • Feiteng Zhong


This paper attempts to examine the dynamics and evolutional way of the Asia-Pacific regional order. In general, there have been three waves of regional order change since the 1970s. The first kind of regional order adjustment was the reconciliation between China and the U.S.A.-Japan alliance, which was a geopolitical arrangement driven by the strategic imbalance between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. The second one took place in the late 1980s with the rise of Japanese economic power, and the United States having succeeded in persuading Japan to 50 upgrade the U.S.A.-Japan alliance without any great change in the regional order. The most recent regional order adjustment continues to develop and initially emerged due to the quick and continuous rise of China. Due to the great scale and multi-dimensionality of the rise of China, Asia-Pacific regional order adjustment might change the global order in the near future. On the one hand, the third wave of regional order adjustment is driven by peaceful dynamics, and the current American hegemony cannot contain China’s rise through military force. On the other hand, the new regional order is directly based on the experiences of its two predecessors and
tries to combine geopolitical balance with geo-economics. Focusing on the power transition between China and the U.S.A., many believe that regional order has disintegrated into “two Asias”, with China dominating economic growth and the United States providing security order. However, this kind of judgment is not a reality but merely speculation. Although China and the United States certainly play the greatest roles in future regional order formation, other regional countries still have their positions in the new regional order. The ideal regional order model in their minds is a much more balanced and stable relationship between the U.S.A. and China, not a conflictual and divided one. Moreover, an open regionalism may help them to play a functional role in regional order.
Research Article