In this study, we seek to do three things. First, we examine what we believe China’s economic, political and military trajectory will resemble between now and the early 2030s. Second, we contemplate the effects that this trajectory for China will have on international institutions and Asia-Pacific regional affairs. Third, we propose a series of issues that New Zealand’s policy-makers will need to bear in mind.
The emergence of China as an international power in the early decades of the 21st century is widely accepted as the consequence of economic, political and military trends which are already apparent today. The familiar patterns of power centred on western predominance and American leadership will no longer offer the reassurance they once did.
Dealing with a prosperous and powerful China, which is by no means a novelty in world history, is commonly accepted as the main foreign policy adjustment that needs to be made by all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The effects of China’s rise on the global and Asia-Pacific regional order are likely to be the main preoccupations for New Zealand foreign policy-makers in the next twenty years and more.