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This study uses role theory to investigate the degree to which the foreign policy of current Chinese “paramount leader” Xi Jinping represents continuity and change, compared to the earlier leadership generations of Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao (1978-2012).
Based on a theoretical discussion of concepts such as international roles, national identities, as well as role continuity and role change, the author uses a qualitative comparison between China’s national role conceptions of the different leadership generations to investigate on an abstract level the degree to which the Xi administration is characterized by role continuity and role change. The theoretical findings of this section are subsequently used to practically investigate continuity and change of China’s conduct in its territorial disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea to test role theory’s central argument that a state’s national role conceptions have a central influence on its foreign policy behavior.
keywordsAußenpolitik der VR China China Internationale Beziehungen Konstruktivismus Philippinen Politikwissenschaft Rollentheorie South China Sea Südchinesisches Meer
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