Chapter 2

Past Diplomacy in East Asia: From Tributary Relations to Cold War Rivalry

Suisheng Zhao

This chapter explores the history of diplomacy in East Asia up to the end of the Cold War. With the introduction of Western diplomacy and the rising power of Japan, the Chinese tributary system deteriorated during the diplomacy of imperialism. After the defeat of Japanese aggression during the Pacific War, East Asia found itself in the midst of bipolar Cold War diplomacy, in which the functional role of each state was conditioned by security alliances or blocs. The increasing diplomatic power of China in the 1970s led to the deterioration of the rigid bipolar system and created a strategic triangle in the 1980s. The tendency toward a coalition between two of the three countries (China, the USSR, and the United States) and the fear of this alliance, constituted the main dynamics of triangular diplomacy.

Glossary exercises

Takeā€“home messages

Answering the book's "big" questions



Case studies

Counterfactual reasoning exercises

Guide to further reading

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