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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE

 

Co-Directors
Professor Stephan Feuchtwang
s.feuchtwang@lse.ac.uk

Dr Fang-Long Shih
f.shih@lse.ac.uk

The Meaning and Logic of Assertive Diplomacy: Cases from China and the Great Powers in dialogue with Taiwan

Series:  Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

Date: Wednesday 23 March 2016, 6–8pm

Venue: Seligman Library, 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE 

Chair: Dr Fang-long Shih (LSE)

Speaker: William ZY Wang (LSE)

Discussant: Aaron McKeil (LSE)

Effective communication often involves tact and diplomacy, especially during negotiations requiring persuasion or assertion. In this discussion, we intend to develop a comparative approach from an International Relations perpsective on how marginalised Taiwan and powerful China have used these approaches improve their relationship with other countries and to gain support in the international world. All are welcome to participate in the dialogue.

Abstract

Assertive diplomacy enters international discourse as a new but underspecified category of state behavior. Most recently, scholars have used it to characterize China’s post-2008 international conduct. This presentation seeks to theorize about this concept. It defines assertive diplomacy as a strategy to demonstrate state power and posits prestige motive behind it. The logic of assertive diplomacy revolves around two issues: first, how state leaders project individual-level prestige aspiration to the collective level of the state; and second, why leaders exhibit propensity for conflict and risk taking in demonstrating state power to signal prestige. Conceptually, the presentation establishes assertive diplomacy as a distinctive type of statecraft and differentiates its meaning from other types of statecraft such as balancing diplomacy (in its conventional meaning), and coercive diplomacy. Empirically, it specifies some variants of assertive diplomacy—that is, offensive alliance, delegitimation strategy, and use of military force, and illustrates them with historical cases. 

About the speakers

William ZY Wang is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at LSE. His research interests include great power politics, international relations theory, Chinese security policy. and security environments.

Aaron McKeil  is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at LSE. His research interests include the English School theory of international relations and global society.

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