Sino-American Power Competition in the Asia Pacific: A Rising China and a Declining America?

November 6, 2019

Darryl S.L. Jarvis Seminar


Name: Professor Darryl S.L. Jarvis, Department of Asian and Policy Studies Faculty of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, The Education University of Hong Kong

Title: Sino-American Power Competition in the Asia Pacific: A Rising China and a Declining America?

Date: October 1, 2019 – Tuesday

Place: CASE 216

Time: 17:00-18:15


The ‘Rise of China’ has become the dominant mantra of our times. From economic transformation, global economic dominance, to increasing military assertiveness, China is now popularly depicted as either displacing the economic, political and military hegemony of the United States in Asia or at least posing a significant threat to it − if not now then in the very near future. In this lecture, the relative power of China and the United States is assessed both in terms of their economic endowments but also their relative military strengths. Militarily, the lecture will argue, despite China’s increasing assertiveness, it remains diplomatically and strategically isolated, intersected by a series of US-based alliance structures that continue to hinder its national aspirations. More importantly, Chinese ambit claims and military posturing in the region, is contributing to ever greater depths of ‘strategic blowback’ − in part fueled by the confluence of contested sovereignties, including: Chinese artificial islands built in the South China Sea and new claims to territorial waters, airspace and exclusion zones; disputed claims over oil, gas and fish stocks; China’s ‘nine-dash-line’ which claim either territorial waters or land mass from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, and Malaysia, among others; and questions about the future of Hong Kong and Taiwan, the latter supported by the USA through continued arms sales and the former ostensibly granted limited autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement when Hong Kong reverted to China in 1997 but which is now threatened by China’s growing political influence over the territory. These issues, the lecture will suggest, are not just regionally important but globally significant, with the Asia’s maritime highways strategic to the global economy, with two-thirds of the world’s oil and traded goods shipped through the region annually.

Short bio:

Darryl S.L. Jarvis is Professor and Head, Department of Asian and Policy Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the Education University of Hong Kong (formally the Hong Kong Institute of Education). He has served previously as the Director of the APEC Studies Centre, Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Studies) and Acting Associate Dean (Quality Assurance). Prior to his current appointment he was Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS). From 1996 to 2006 he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations, Faculty of Economics and Business (now the University of Sydney Business School), at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research and teaching interests focus on comparative political economy, comparative public policy and the politics of regulation, marketisation and development in Asia.