Regional Integration – China in the International Arena

Table of Content

            The emergence of China in the international arena has given the state several advantages in creating and establishing partnerships that both benefit and strengthen the interplay of power. With its efforts to open up and create associations with international organizations, it can be seen that it fosters both advantages and implications in the areas that it seeks to be part of. By carefully looking into these parameters, better understanding can be deciphered and lead to the realization of opportunities that are available.

            Looking at the positive side of integration, China’s participation with the ASEAN can bolster and improve the regional economic bloc. With the acceptance of the country to enter bilateral talks and the creation of China-Asean Free trade agreement (CAFTA), it can cater towards bolstering greater economic framework and widening of trading areas wherein all parties can benefit in the process (Liu, 2008).

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            At the same time, this initiative to include China as part of the ASEAN under the East Asian Community can synchronize with the goals of bloc in (1) narrowing down the developmental gap, (2) intensify and tap into resources for trade, (3) address the challenges within the region and (4) striving towards increased partnership under the ASEAN Plus Three framework (Jibao, 2006). This in turn can help legitimize the overall effort of China in extending its foreign policy initiatives in the region and showcase its capability to adapt to the increasing challenges of the 21st century.

            Lastly, this program can help develop not only in strengthening economic partnerships in the region but also tackle on important issues that revolve within the regional bloc. Take for example the capability of increasing the drive towards legitimizing and monitoring in areas such as “transnational crime and terrorism, SARS, avian influenza and natural disasters” (Yong, 2006, p.1). With the help of regionalization, there can be a medium for collaboration and dialogue to be initiated.

            On the other hand, there are also several implications that are associated to the partnership of China with ASEAN. Though there are significant contributions that can be deciphered in the process of integration, it can also create systematic changes with member states as far as economic growth is concerned. One important problem associated in this process is that the rapid development of the country can undermine the trading blocs as businesses shift their preference towards China rather than an ASEAN member state (Wong, 2004).

            Another obstacle that can be seen in this integration process is the ability of ASEAN member states to actively cope up with China’s continued growth through the years. With each member susceptible to economic shocks, one question that many skeptics point out is the relative capability of China to adjust to the economic needs of the region in intensifying further cooperation and spearheading the avenues towards growth (Wong, 2004).

            Lastly, another hurdle to such partnership may have not been China’s fault but a consequence of its rapid development. This idea revolves around the initial risks that can be attributed towards “potential trade diversion effect and related structural adjustments” (Wong, 2004, p.41). This in turn can generate greater costs for member states and it shall be administered unevenly and shall be determined by each ones comparative advantage over industries, goods and services.

            To conclude, China’s partnership with ASEA can both cater towards positive and negative impacts to the region. By actively understanding the relevant risks associated in the process, the regional bloc can actively adjust and engage in dialogue and communication to alleviate the issue. Doing this, it can help generate stronger integration that can bolster not only the economic capabilities of the region but also have a firm stand in the political and social sphere.


Jiabao, W. (2006) Join Hands to Create a Better Future for ASEAN-China Relations. Retrieved

April 7, 2009 from,

Liu, F.K. (2008) China’s embrace leaves US in Cold in Asian Times Online. Retrieved April 7,

2009 from,

Wong, J. (2004) China’s Economic Rise: Implications for East Asian Growth and Integration in

Bulletin on Asia-Pacific Perspectives. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 31-44.

Yong, O.E. (2006) ASEAN-China Relations: Harmony and Development. Retrieved April 7,

2009 from,

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