Historical Memory Issues in China’s Relations with its Neighbors

Authored by: Xiaoming Zhang

Routledge Handbook of Memory and Reconciliation in East Asia

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415835138
eBook ISBN: 9780203740323
Adobe ISBN: 9781135009212


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China’s geopolitical location is quite unique. It has been surrounded by many continental and maritime neighbors on all sides over the past 2,000 years. Today China has more neighboring countries than any other nations in the world. It is sharing land borders with 14 countries,1 and maritime borders (or disputed maritime borders) with eight countries2 (two of them, North Korea and Vietnam, share both land borders and maritime borders with China). Dealing with the neighboring countries to ensure a favorable external security environment in the surrounding areas (or zhoubian waijiao in Chinese) has therefore always been on the top of the foreign policy agenda of the various Chinese central governments. In fact, China is probably the only big country in the world that has been so preoccupied with its relationship with the neighboring countries and has spent so many resources in dealing with them.

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