International Politics

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 208–222 | Cite as

Contested regional orders and institutional balancing in the Asia Pacific

Original Article


The rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is gradually transforming the international system from a unipolar world toward multipolarity. China’s ascent not only challenges US domination, but also intensifies the institutionalization of security in the Asia Pacific. On the basis of institutional balancing theory, I argue that (i) China’s rise has led to a competition among different regional orders, that is, the US-led bilateralism versus ASEAN-centered and China-supported multilateralism. However, conflicts or wars are not inevitable since the contested regional orders can coexist in the Asia Pacific. (ii) The deepening economic interdependence has encouraged regional powers, including the United States, China and ASEAN, to rely on different institutional balancing strategies to pursue security after the Cold War.


ASEAN BRICS China US hegemony institutional balancing 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai He
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceThe University of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

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