International Politics of the Asia-Pacific - POLI9540

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


The module starts with introductory sessions, which examine the historical and geopolitical settings of the Asia-Pacific, conceptualise it as a region, and explore the main contending theoretical perspectives relevant to the study of the region's international relations. Following the introduction, attention is given to the foreign policies of, and the relations between the major powers – the US, China and Japan. The module further investigates the unresolved historical problems between Japan, China and South Korea, and rising nationalism in the Asia-Pacific, and the major sources of regional conflict – the Taiwan issue, North Korea’s nuclearisation, and the territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. Also discussed are Russia’s and the EU’s regional policies, as well as regional cooperation and Asian-Pacific institution building, including in the framework of APEC, ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit. The module concludes by examining the main trends in the evolving regional order in the Asia-Pacific.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 176
Total study hours: 200


The module is primarily, but not solely, intended for the MA in International Relations and the MA in Conflict and Security at BSIS

Method of assessment

Essay, 5000 words (100%).

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Jacob Bercovitch and Mikio Oishi (2010), International Conflict in the Asia-Pacific: Patterns, Consequences and Management. Routledge Global Security Studies.

Kevin P. Clements (ed.) (2018), Identity, Trust, and Reconciliation in East Asia: Dealing with Painful History to Create a Peaceful Present. Palgrave Macmillan.

Michael K. Connors, Rémy Davison, Jörn Dosch (2018), The New Global Politics of the Asia Pacific. Third edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

Sumit Ganguly, Joseph Chinyong Liow and Andrew Scobell (eds.) (2018), The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies. Second edition. New York: Routledge.

G. John Ikenberry and Michael Mastanduno (eds.) (2003), International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific. Columbia University Press.

G. John Ikenberry and Chung-In Moon (eds.) (2007), The United State and Northeast Asia: Debates, Issues and New Order. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Byung-Kook Kim and Anthony Jones (eds.) (2007), Power and Security in Northeast Asia: Shifting Strategies. London: Lynne Rienner.

Robert S. Ross and Oystein Tunsjo (eds.) (2017), Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China: Power and Politics in East Asia. Cornell University Press.

David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda (eds.) (2014), International Relations of Asia. Second edition. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Michael Yahuda (2011), The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific. Third edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1: understand the contemporary political, economic and security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific, as well as the historical and geopolitical settings of the region

8.2: critically analyse the foreign policies and national security strategies of the main regional players, namely the US, China and Japan, as well as the issues defining major power relations

8.3: examine the key sources of conflict and instability in the Asia-Pacific region, including unresolved historical disputes, territorial claims and sovereignty issues

8.4: explore the trends for cooperation and institution building in the Asia-Pacific both from a regional and comparative (with the EU) perspective

8.5: explain the international relations in the Asia-Pacific by applying the most relevant International Relations Theories

8.6: understand contemporary relations in the Asia-Pacific by placing regional issues in the larger context of global politics

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1: have general research skills, especially bibliographic and computing skills;

9.2: gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources;

9.3: identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems;

9.4: develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement,

9.5: reflect on, and manage, their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance their performance and personal skills, manage their own learning self-critically


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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