China and the idea of "economic security"

China and the idea of "economic security"

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Venue: 
Dahrendorf Room, Founder’s Building at St Antony’s College
Speaker(s): 
Dr Amy King (Australian National University)
Chair: 
Professor Rosemary Foot
Convenor: 
Professor Rosemary Foot
Series: 
East Asia Seminar

It is commonly observed that the idea of ‘economic security’ (jingji anquan) did not take hold in Chinese strategic thinking until the 1980s, following the introduction of Deng Xiaoping’s Reform and Opening policies, or the late 1990s, in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis. However, this paper demonstrates that ideas about the nexus between economics and national security developed in China well before the 1980s and 1990s. This paper examines Chinese ideas about three specific aspects of the relationship between economics and security from the 1950s and 1960s: 1) ideas about economic sanctions as a weapon of war; 2) ideas about building a mutually beneficial international economic order so that countries would not resort to imperialism or aggression in the pursuit of economic development; and 3) ideas about the use of technology in building both a rich nation and strong army. The paper argues that these ideas about the relationship between economics and security have a longer history in China than is commonly assumed, and that they continue to influence contemporary Chinese thinking about the economic-security nexus.