China’s Rise and the Question of Emerging Neutralism in New Zealand Foreign Policy

Date: Tuesday, 22 July

Venue: MYLT 101, Murphy Building, Kelburn Campus

Speaker: Dr Marc Lanteigne


Much has been written in recent years about the strategic effects on East Asia of the rise of China as a great power. However, there has been a distinct lack of analysis on the impact of China’s emergence as a dominant player in Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand. Although conventional wisdom has suggested that both countries, having similar political structures, are engaging China in similar ways, the reality is increasingly being proven to be the opposite. From a historical-political viewpoint, it is becoming more relevant to define New Zealand’s emerging China policies through not only a small-state approach, which places unnecessary limits on the study of NZ-China relations, but also using models of the theory of ‘neutralism’, including traditional European and Asian case examples. The need for this approach has been illustrated not only by the developing economic ties between China and New Zealand, but also by the post-2010 ‘restart’ of US-NZ relations since the Wellington Declaration and the increasingly uncertain strategic relations of East Asia as a whole. It is past due for New Zealand to consider the benefits of greater neutralism in its great power relations. At the same time, this case also suggests the necessity to update and develop the concepts of neutralism in foreign relations for the post-unipolarity era in international relations.

About the speaker

Marc Lanteigne (兰马克) is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations and the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington. In late 2014 will be assuming the title of Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo. He is the author of China and International Institutions: Alternate Paths to Global Power and Chinese Foreign Policy: An Introduction as well as several articles and writings on Chinese and Asian international relations and strategic thinking.