China’s Asymmetric Statecraft: Alignments, Competitors, and Regional Diplomacy, Yuxing Huang

Reviewed by Jeremy Garlick

Interpreting shifts in a nation’s foreign policy can be a difficult task in the absence of direct access to leaders’ strategic thinking. At any rate, the complexity of geopolitical posturing and jockeying for position when multiple actors are involved do not lend themselves to straightforward answers. Yet, political scientists continue striving to find parsimonious explanations: ones that explain a state’s behavior with reference to one or a small set of variables.

In China’s Asymmetric Statecraft, Yuxing Huang seeks to explain China’s statecraft toward its mostly smaller and weaker neighbors by positing that the number of regional rivals is the decisive factor. When there is one rival in a region, he claims, China adopts a uniform approach to its asymmetric statecraft with nonallied neighbors. This is intended to present an attractive image of fairness and consistency. At times when there are two or more rivals, China switches to a selective approach, tailoring its policy to each state. In each case, the uniform or selective approach is supposed to encourage the state to lean toward China rather than the competition. On the other hand, Huang claims, the reverse is true with regard to regional allies: a uniform approach when there is more than one competitor and a selective approach when there is only one.


To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


America at a Crossroads: The 2024 Presidential Election and Its Global Impact
April 24, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
New York, NY


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS