Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vsgnj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-24T12:20:00.586Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

3 - Regional Solutions for Regional Confl icts? The EU, China and their Respective Neighborhoods

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2016

Thomas Diez
University of Tübingen
Eva Scherwitz
Johns Hopkins University
See Seng Tan
Nanyang Technological University
Emil J. Kirchner
University of Essex
Thomas Christiansen
Universiteit Maastricht, Netherlands
Han Dorussen
University of Essex
Get access


Regional Threat Perceptions and Security Issues

The post-Cold War security landscape is increasingly characterized by regional security interactions (Buzan and Wæver 2003). Sub-system violent conflicts, often labeled “new wars” (Kaldor 1999) have become a core concern. While their novelty remains contested (e.g. Melander et al. 2009), such wars have become an integral part of security strategies. Thus, the 2003 European Security Strategy identified “regional conflicts” as a key threat (CEU 2003: 4). Asia, too, faces new security threats, including the effects of regional conflicts (Caballero-Anthony and Cook 2013). Both the EU and China show increasing concerns, for instance, about the instability and terrorist threats emanating from the Central Asian region (Lain 2014; CEU 2015: 6, 11).

To the EU, such regional conflicts are particularly relevant if they persist in the EU's own neighborhood. The wars in the context of the break-up of former Yugoslavia signified the failure and sparked the development of EU security policy (Juncos 2005; Kirchner 2006). In this context, the build-up of military capacities in the form of battlegroups and the construction of the European External Action Service (EEAS) as a diplomatic force on the EU level have received a lot of attention. Yet, at the same time, the EU is committed to the transformation of regional conflicts through civilian and political means and, in particular, through the promotion of regional integration. Meanwhile, the Asian context illustrates that regionalism is not equal to EU-style “institutional” integration. It may also take the form of “intergovernmental” regionalism, focused on states and “networked” regionalism, in which states and regional actors are connected in relatively decentralized yet interlocking webs and variable geometries (Yeo 2010).

Such comparisons of the EU's and China's regionalization policies are complicated by the fact that one is a regional organization and the other a “great power.” As a mature security community, the EU is committed to the transformation of its external security environment, using both power and values-based means to achieve normative ends. As an “authoritarian capitalist” “great power” (Gat 2007), China seeks to influence and shape its external security environment in ways that best benefit its nationalist ends. To China, regional conflicts are relevant if they have the potential to destabilize the regional security environment and adversely affect the region's (and hence China's) economic dynamism.

Security Relations between China and the European Union
From Convergence to Cooperation?
, pp. 42 - 62
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


AEUP (Africa–EU Partnership). 2013. “The AU Wants to Increase Conflict Prevention and Mediation in Africa.” Available at: (accessed April 15, 2016).
Asseburg, M. 2009. “The ESDP Missions in the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS, EU BAM Rafah): Peace through Security?” in Asseburg, M. and Kempin, R. (eds.), The EU as a Strategic Actor in the Realm of Security and Defence? A Systematic Assessment of ESDP Missions and Operations. Berlin: StiftungWissenschaftund Politik, 84–99.
Aubert, L. 2012. “The European Union's Policy towards Central Asia and South Caucasus: A Coherent Strategy?” Bruges Regional Integration and Global Governance Papers 1/2012. Available at: (accessed May 12, 2016).
Azhar, H. and Louis, J. 2014. “Regional Integration and Conflict Resolution in the Mediterranean Neighbourhood: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?” RegioConf Working Paper No. 6. Available at: (accessed November 10, 2014).
Ba, A. D. 2006. “Who's Socializing Whom? Complex Engagement in Sino–ASEAN Relations,” Pacific Review 19(2): 157–79.Google Scholar
Beeson, M. 2003. “ASEAN Plus Three and the Rise of Reactionary Regionalism,” Contemporary Southeast Asia 25(2): 251–68.Google Scholar
Bicchi, F. 2006. “Our Size Fits All: Normative Power in Europe and the Mediterranean,” Journal of European Public Policy 13(2): 286–303.Google Scholar
Browning, C. S. and Joenniemi, P. 2003. “The European Union's Two Dimensions: The Eastern and the Northern,” Security Dialogue 34(4): 463–78.Google Scholar
Brugier, C.and Popescu, N. 2014 “Ukraine: The View from China.” European Institute for Security Studies. Available at: (accessed April 15, 2016).
Buzan, B. and Wæver, O. 2003. Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Caballero-Anthony, M. and Cook, A. D. B. (eds.). 2013. Non-Traditional Security in Asia: Issues, Challenges and Framework for Action. Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies.
Callahan, W. A. 2012. China: The Pessoptimist Nation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
CEU (Council of the European Union). 2003. “A Secure Europe in a Better World: European Security Strategy.” Available at: (accessed February 27, 2014).
CEU. 2010. “Joint Progress Report by the Council and the European Commission to the European Council on the Implementation of the EU Central Asia Strategy.” Document 11402/10. Available at: (accessed April 15, 2016).
CEU. 2015. “Council Conclusions on the EU Strategy for Central Asia.” Document 10191/15 COEST 195. Available at: (accessed July 3, 2015).
ComEU (Commission of the European Union). 2013. “Thematic Global Evaluation of the European Union's Support to Integrated Border Management and Fight Against Organised Crime.” Available at: (accessed April 15, 2016).
Constantinou, C. M. and Papadakis, Y. 2002. “The Cypriot State(s) In Situ: Cross-Ethnic Contact and the Discourse of Recognition,” in Diez, T. (ed.), The European Union and the Cyprus Conflict: Postmodern Union. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 73–97.
Del Sarto, R. 2006. “Region-Building, European Union Normative Power, and Contested Identities: The Case of Israel,” in Adler, E., Crawford, B., Bicchi, F. and Sarto, R. Del (eds.), The Convergence of Civilizations: Constructing a Mediterranean Region. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 296–333.
Del Sarto, R. and Schumacher, T. 2005. “From EMP to ENP: What's at Stake with the European Neighbourhood Policy towards the Southern Mediterranean?” European Foreign Affairs Review 10: 17–38.Google Scholar
Diez, T. 2013. “Normative Power as Hegemony,” Cooperation and Conflict 48(2): 194–210.Google Scholar
Diez, T. 2015. “Regions at their Borders: Rethinking Identity, Territory and Governance.” Paper presented at the 22nd Conference of Europeanists, Paris, France, July 8–10. Available at: (accessed July 3, 2015).
Diez, T. and Pace, M. 2011. “Normative Power Europe and Conflict Transformation,” in Whitman, R. G. (ed.), Normative Power Europe: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 210–25.
Diez, T., Stetter, S. and Albert, M. 2006. “The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Transformative Power of Integration,” International Organization 60(3): 563–93.Google Scholar
Diez, T. and Tocci, N. 2010. “The Cyprus Conflict and the Ambiguous Effects of Europeanization,” Cyprus Review 22(1): 175–86.Google Scholar
Duchâtel, M. and Huijskens, F. 2015. “The European Union's Principled Neutrality on the East China Sea.” SIPRI Policy Brief. Available at: (accessed June 21, 2015).
Edwards, G. and Roberts, T. 2014. “A High-Carbon Partnership? Chinese–Latin American Relations in a Carbon-Constrained World.” Global Working Papers No. 68. Washington: Brookings Institution.
EEAS (European External Action Service). 2015. “The European Union in a Changing Global Environment: A More Connected, Contested and Complex World.” Available at:–strategic-review_strategic_review_en.pdf (accessed July 3, 2015).
Ellis, R. E. 2013. “The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America.” Perry Paper Series No. 1. Washington, DC: William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.
Emmers, R. and Tan, S. S. 2011. “The ASEAN Regional Forum and Preventive Diplomacy: Built to Fail?” Asian Security 7(1): 44–60.Google Scholar
Farrell, M. 2005. “A Triumph of Realism over Idealism? Cooperation between the European Union and Africa,” Journal of European Integration 27(3): 263–84.Google Scholar
Friedberg, A. L. 2012. A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia. New York: Norton.
Gat, A. 2007. “The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers,” Foreign Affairs 86(4): 59–69.Google Scholar
Gross, E. 2015. “Recalibrating EU–Central Asia Relations.” European Union Institute for Security Studies. Available at: (accessed April 14, 2016).
Hayward, K. 2007. “Mediating the European Ideal: Cross-Border Programmes and Conflict Resolution on the Island of Ireland,” Journal of Common Market Studies 45(3): 675–93.Google Scholar
Hettne, B. and Söderbaum, F. 2005. “Civilian Power or Soft Imperialism? The EU as a Global Actor and the Role of Interregionalism,” European Foreign Affairs Review 10: 535–52.Google Scholar
Higashino, A. 2004. “For the Sake of ‘Peace and Security’? The Role of Security in the European Union Enlargement Eastwards,” Cooperation and Conflict 39(4): 347–68.Google Scholar
Higgins, A. 2012. “In Philippines, Banana Growers Feel Effect of South China Sea Dispute,” Washington Post, June 11. Available at: (accessed May 16,2014).
Joenniemi, P. 2008. “Border Issues in Europe's North,” in Diez, T., Albert, M. and Stetter, S. (eds.), The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Power of Integration and Association. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 129–72.
Johnston, A. I. 2008. Social States: China in International Relations, 1980–2000. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Juncos, A. E. 2005. “The EU's Post-Conflict Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina: (Re)Integrating the Balkans and/or (Re)Inventing the EU?” Southeast European Politics 6 (2): 88–108.Google Scholar
Kaldor, M. 1999. New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Kelley, J. 2006. “New Wine in Old Wineskins: Promoting Political Reforms through the New European Neighbourhood Policy,” Journal of Common Market Studies 44(1): 29–55.Google Scholar
Kirchner, E. J. 2006. “The Challenge of European Union Security Governance,” Journal of Common Market Studies 44(5): 947–68.Google Scholar
Kor, K. B. 2014. “China Puts Low-Key Summit in Spotlight,” Straits Times, May 10, A18.
Kurlantzick, J. 2008. Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Lain, S. 2014. “China's Presence in Central Asia,” China in Central Asia. Available at: (accessed July 3, 2015).
Li, C. and Lye, Y. F. 2011. “China–ASEAN Connectivity: China's Objectives, Strategies and Projects (I).” East Asia Institute Background Brief No. 674. Singapore: East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore.
Lin, J. Y. 2011. “From Flying Geese to Leading Dragons: New Opportunities and Strategies for Structural Transformation in Developing Countries.” Policy Research Working Paper No. 5702. Washington: World Bank.
Manners, I. 2002. “Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?” Journal of Common Market Studies 40(2): 235–58.Google Scholar
Mearsheimer, J. 2014. “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault: The Liberal Delusions that Provoked Putin,” Foreign Affairs 93: 77–89.Google Scholar
Melander, E., Oberg, M. and Hall, J. 2009. “Are ‘New Wars’ More Atrocious? Battle Severity, Civilians Killed and Forced Migration Before and After the End of the Cold War,” European Journal of International Relations 15(3): 505–36.Google Scholar
Özersay, K. and Gürel, A. 2009. “The Cyprus Problem at the European Court of Human Rights,” in Diez, T. and Tocci, N. (eds.), Cyprus: A Conflict at the Crossroads. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 273–92.
Pantucci, R. and Lifan, L. 2013. “Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Not Quite the New Silk Road,” The Diplomat, September 12. Available at: (accessed May 14, 2014).
Pavlovaite, I. 2003. “Being European by Joining Europe: Accession and Identity Politics in Lithuania,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 16(2): 239–55.Google Scholar
Piccolino, G. and Minou, S. 2014. “The EU and Regional Integration in West Africa: Effects on Conflict Resolution and Transformation.” RegioConf Working Paper No. 5. Available at: (accessed October 11, 2014).
Rana, P. B. and Chia, W.-M. 2013. “The Revival of the Silk Roads (Land Connectivity) in Asia.” RSIS Working Paper No. 274. Singapore: Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Roy, D. 2013. Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security. New York: Columbia University Press.
Schimmang, B. 2014. “Die Euro-Med Matroschka der Europäischen Union.” Unpublished dissertation. Tübingen: Universität Tübingen.
Schimmelfennig, F. 2001. “The Community Trap: Liberal Norms, Rhetorical Action, and the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union,” International Organization 55(1): 47–80.Google Scholar
Speck, U. 2014. “How the EU Sleepwalked into a Conflict with Russia.” Carnegie Europe. Available at: (accessed June 19, 2015).
Stokes, J. 2015. “China's Road Rules,” Foreign Affairs, April 19. Available at: (accessed June 22, 2015).
Sun, Y. 2014. “China's Aid to Africa: Monster or Messiah?” Brookings Institution. Available at: (accessed May 19, 2014).
Tan, S. S. 2012. “‘Talking Their Walk’? The Evolution of Defence Regionalism in Southeast Asia,” Asian Security 8(3): 232–50.Google Scholar
Tiezzi, S. 2013. “China ‘Marches West’ – to Europe,” The Diplomat, November 27. Available at: (accessed November 18, 2014).
Tocci, N. 2007. The EU and Conflict Resolution: Promoting Peace in the Backyard. London: Routledge.
Wong, J. 2012. “East Asian Economic Cooperation: Lessons for South American Regionalism.” EAI Working Paper No. 160. Singapore: East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore.
Wu, G. 2008. “Multiple Levels of Multilateralism: The Rising China in the Turbulent World,” in Wu, G. and Lansdowne, H. (eds.), China Turns to Multilateralism: Foreign Policy and Regional Security. Abingdon: Routledge, 267–89.
Yacobi, H. and Newman, D. 2008. “The EU and the Israel–Palestine Conflict,” in Diez, T., Albert, M. and Stetter, S. (eds.), The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Power of Integration and Association. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 173–202.
Yeo, L. H. 2010. “Institutional Regionalism versus Networked Regionalism: Europe and Asia Compared,” International Politics 47: 324–37.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats