China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence: principles and Foreign Policy

Richardson, Sophie Diamant, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Womack, Brantly, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Legro, Jeff, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Copeland, Dale, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Jian, Chen

Most international relations scholarship concentrates exclusively on cooperation or aggression and dismisses non - conforming behavior as anomalous. Consequently, Chinese foreign policy towards small states is deemed either irrelevant or deviant. Yet an inquiry into the full range of choices available to policymakers shows that a particular set of beliefs - the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence - determined options, thus demonstrating the validity of an alternative rationality that standard approaches carmot apprehend. In theoretical terms, a belief - based explanation suggests that international relations and individual states' foreign policies are not necessarily determined by a uniformly offensive or defensive posture, and that states can pursue more peaceful security strategies than an "anarchic" system has previously allowed. "Security" is not the one - dimensional, militarized state of being most international relations theory implies. Rather, it is a highly subjective, experience - based construct, such that those with different experiences will pursue different means of trying to create their own security. By examining one detailed longitudinal case, which draws on extensive archival research in China, and three shorter cases, it is shown that Chinese foreign policy makers rarely pursued options outside the Five Principles. Four chapters on Chinese foreign policy towards Cambodia show that policies that neorealism and others would consider logical were considered in Beijing and consistently rejected. In the 1950s and 1960s, the communist giant made diplomatic and financial efforts on behalf of the tiny monarchy and did not cultivate a relationship with Cambodia's communists. China's support for an exiled Sihanoukist government and the 4 subsequent Democratic Kampuchea regime in the 1970s illustrated its commitment to sovereignty, a belief also reflected in China's assistance to the Cambodian resistance coalition of the 1980s. Although Cambodia regained its independence in the 1990s, China continued to perceive it as vulr1erable to foreign economic and political encroachment, such that it opted to pursue a close relationship with a regime dominated by its former enemies. Similarly principled choices are seen in abbreviated cases on India, Albania, and Afghanistan. Understanding the Five Principles and their application render Chinese foreign policy not only comprehensible but also predictable.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
China, Cambodia, foreign policy
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