China and Her Neighbours

Asian Diplomacy from Ancient History to the Present

Michael Tai


A comprehensive introduction to thousands of years of Asian political and diplomatic history, offering crucial historical underpinning to the contemporary rise of China.

For centuries, China was confident in its role as the ‘Middle Kingdom’, the undisputed cultural, economic and political powerhouse of Asia. Today, with China once again a leading player on the world stage, countries across the continent are facing an uncertain future. Does China’s rise threaten its neighbours? And what, ultimately, is its end goal? Nowhere are these questions more pressing than in the Pacific, where China’s maritime neighbours find themselves directly in the path of the country’s expanding territorial claims.

In this rich historical exploration, Michael Tai finds answers to these and other questions through an in-depth exploration of China’s past. Spanning thousands of years of Chinese and Asian history, China and Her Neighbours looks at China’s evolving relations with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. While the disputes in the Pacific have attracted widespread attention, very few investigations have considered the wider historical context of these tensions.

Author Bio

Michael Tai is an affiliated lecturer and research associate at the Centre of Development Studies, St. Edmund's College, Cambridge. He previously worked in consulting as well as teaching finance in China, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus. An expert on China’s international relations, he is a frequent contributor to The Diplomat, and is also the author of US-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century (2015).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: Can the World Trust China?
  • 2. China and Japan
  • 3. The Ryukyu Kingdom
  •  Vietnam
  • 5. The Philippines
  • 6. Malaysia
  • 7. Territorial Disputes
  • 8: China and the World Order


‘An impressive historical and maritime strategic approach to Chinese history and peripheral relations, and how they have related to current events.’
Marc Lanteigne, Massey University in Auckland

‘A book on how to deepen mutual understanding between the peoples of East Asia. A valuable contribution to the peaceful and harmonious evolution of East Asia.’
Peter Nolan, Director, China Centre, Jesus College, Cambridge

‘A history of what could have been a Chinese overseas empire had China ever intended to create one. The question of who can be trusted to deal equitably with other sovereign nations in our increasingly volatile times is one that can be asked again.’
Christopher P. Henson, The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding


Publication Date: 15 September 2019
216 pages

Product ISBNs: Hardback: 9781786997760
eBook ePub: 9781786997791
eBook PDF: 9781786997807
eBook Kindle: 9781786997784

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