Conclusion: China and the Norms of Sovereignty
Part II of this book has demonstrated that, China’s interpretation of sovereignty and its actions in the Security Council (UNSC) have several very interesting implications for China’s engagement with the liberal international order. At the end of the fourth chapter, four tools for normative change were identified: reframing existing debates; creating new institutions; using ‘new’ issue areas; and creating new populations. By the use of these tools, states can express their agency in challenging international norms. The agency of states could take the form of: persistent objection; ad hoc objection (or consent); or norm entrepreneurship.In China’s interaction within the SC on issues of sovereignty, China can be seen as adopting all three types of agency; although the dominant narrative set out above demonstrates a tendency to use objection. China also uses the tools of populations and reframing debates. In challenging international norms, China’s challenge is facilitated by a changing balance of powers and the perceived failure of existing interpretations of norms.