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European perspectives towards the rise of Asia: contextualising the debate


  • Luis Simón

    () (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

  • Stephan Klose

    (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


Abstract To what extent can we speak of a distinctively ‘European’ security approach towards the Asia-Pacific region? In order to address that timely question, this article examines how Britain, France, Germany and the European Union (EU) are framing their evolving security roles in the Asia-Pacific region, and how those individual perspectives intersect with each other. The article identifies a number of important common features in Europe’s approaches towards security in the Asia-Pacific, namely the tendency of most European actors to emphasize the economic and diplomatic nature of their contribution to regional security, their promotion of regional multilateral security fora, their rejection of the notion that China’s rise is inherently challenging for regional and global security, and their willingness to signal their differences towards Washington’s emphasis on military power and alliance-based approach. However, and despite the existence of common traits, individual European actors show different degrees of closeness vis-à-vis the US and China and feature different perspectives regarding which security relationships they should prioritize in the region (if any), or the appropriate balance between diplomacy and security and defence cooperation. Such divergences prevent Europeans from developing a coherent security profile in the region and preclude us from speaking of a distinctively European security approach towards the Asia-Pacific.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Simón & Stephan Klose, 2016. "European perspectives towards the rise of Asia: contextualising the debate," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 239-260, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:asiaeu:v:14:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10308-015-0440-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10308-015-0440-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Kerr & Yanzhuo Xu, 2014. "Europe, China and security governance: is there evidence of normative convergence?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 79-93, March.
    2. Colin Butler, 2006. "UK-Asian strategic alliances in the defence manufacturing industry," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 43-52, April.
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    4. Emil Kirchner, 2005. "Security threats and institutional response. The European context," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 179-197, July.
    5. Monir Moni, 2006. "Japan–UK: perspectives of partnership," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 351-364, September.
    6. May-Britt Stumbaum, 2015. "The diffusion of norms in security-related fields: views from China, India and the EU," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 331-347, September.
    7. Hubert Zimmermann, 2007. "Realist Power Europe? The EU in the Negotiations about China's and Russia's WTO Accession," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45, pages 813-832, November.
    8. Ian Manners, 2002. "Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 235-258, June.
    9. Jikon Lai & John Ravenhill, 2012. "Asia’s multi-level response to the global financial crisis," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 141-157, March.
    10. Norbert Hofmann, 2007. "How do Asians evaluate Europe’s strategic involvement in East Asia?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 187-192, June.
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