The Use of Force in Foreign Policy by the People's Republic of China

AuthorAllen S. Whiting
Published date01 July 1972
Date01 July 1972
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1177/000271627240200105
Subject MatterArticles
55
The
Use
of
Force
in
Foreign
Policy
by
the
People’s Republic
of
China
By
ALLEN
S.
WHITING
ABSTRACT:
President
Nixon’s
"journey
for
peace"
to
Peking
has
implicitly
modified
the
image
of
a
Chinese
Communist
ag-
gressive
threat
delineated
by
all
previous
administrations.
However,
it
has
not
explicitly
redefined
the
administration’s
assumptions
on
the
Chinese
use
of
force.
This
has
left
consid-
erable
confusion
and
unease
among
Asian
and
American
audi-
ences
who
accept
the
concept
of
massive
Chinese
military
force
being
deterred
from
aggression
primarily
by
American
security
commitments,
bases,
and
force
postures
extending
from
Korea
and
Japan
to
India.
The
nine
instances
wherein
the
People’s
Liberation
Army
(PLA)
has
crossed
customary
borders
in
hos-
tile
array
during
the
past
twenty-two
years
provide
prima
facie
evidence
for
the
conventional
image
of
a
potentially
expansion-
ist
regime
contained
by
American
commitments
and
force.
However,
closer
examination
of
the
use
of
military
force
by
the
People’s
Republic
reveals
an
entirely
different
situation
whereby
the
government
in
Peking,
in
most
cases,
deployed
the
PLA
in
defensive
reaction
against
a
perceived
threat.
The
Chinese
use
of
force
primarily
for
defensive
deterrence
has
re-
mained
remarkably
consistent
over
twenty-one
years,
and
con-
siderable
continuity
may
be
anticipated
for
at
least
the
next
five
years.
Allan
S.
Whiting,
Ph.D.,
Ann
Arbor,
Michigan,
has
been
Professor
of
Political
Science
at
the
University
of
Michigan
since
1968.
He
previously
taught
at
Michigan
State,
1955-57,
and
Northwestern,
1951-53.
He
was
a
staff
member
of
the
Rand
Corporation
in
the
Social
Science
Division,
1957-61 ;
Director,
Office
of
Research
and
Analysis
for
the
Far
East,
U.S.
Department
of
State,
1961-66 ;
and
Deputy
Principal
Officer,
American
Consulate
General,
Hong
Kong,
1966-68.
Educated
at
Cornell
and
Columbia
universities
and
the
recipient
of
several
fellowships,
he
is
the
author
of
Soviet
Policies
in
China
1917-24 and
coauthor
of
Dynamics
of
International
Relations;
Sinkiang:
Pawn
or
Pivot ? ;
and
China
Crosses
the
Yalu.

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