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China's unprecedented economic growth led some scholars to conclude that it will replace the United States as the future global hegemon. However, China's intentions in exercising future global leadership are yet unknown and difficult to extrapolate from its often contradictory behaviour. A preliminary overview of China's island building in the South China Sea reveals its potentially coercive intentions. This inference is consistent with the analysis of those who prognosticate China's violent rise. Conversely and simultaneously, China's participation in peacekeeping operations and its global investments evince its benevolent hegemonic intentions, which are congruent with the argument of those who predict China's peaceful hegemonic ascent. Confronted with these divergent tendencies in China's recent international relations, and assuming its continued rise, it is, thus, essential to examine China's strategic intentions and how these may ultimately project its violent or peaceful hegemonic rise. This article argues that the “Third Way” or “Dutch‐style” hegemony is highly instructive in this context and, thus, should be examined and added to the existing debate on China's rise as either a benevolent or coercive hegemon. We argue that Dutch‐style hegemony may be the most viable way for China to proceed in its global hegemonic ascendancy.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Originally published Asia & The Pacific Policy Studies.





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