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Diplomacy and International Relations in East Asia



Course objectives: This course examines the dynamics of diplomacy and international relations in East Asia. It aims to: 1. deepen the understanding of the concept of diplomacy as a tool for the conduct of international relations by analyzing how countries in the region, in particular China and Japan, use diplomacy to achieve their foreign policy aims; 2. deepen the understanding of the regional context in which international relations exist in East Asia.

Course content: The course will familiarize students with diplomacy and international relations in East Asia. It is built up around topics that illustrate the enormous political, economic, and social changes that the region has undergone as a result of globalization, its growing economic clout, and its integration into the international system. The focus is on diplomatic processes of the region’s two main actors, Japan and China, as well as on the international context in which these processes take place. Particular attention will be given to recent developments and the practical dilemmas that policymakers face in addressing these.
Topics to be addressed include China’s foreign policy and diplomacy; Japan’s foreign policy and diplomacy; Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea; the US and its pivot to Asia; multilateral mechanisms in East Asia; East Asia as a region and as a subject in IR studies. One session will be reserved for a guest lecture by a practitioner or a speaker from the region.
Furthermore, starting from week 2, students will be asked to present briefing notes in class. As students will be required to make in-class presentations and debate issues, they will enhance their research, analytical and presentation skills.

Methods of Instruction

Lectures, group discussion, and presentations.

Study Material

Students will read approximately 60-70 pages per week.


Essay of 3500-4000 words.


Wednesday 30 October until18 December, 13.00-15.00 hrs in the Buitenhof room (Stichthage)
The classes on 6 & 27 November are in the Malieveld room
No class on 11 December, instead there will be a class on 9 December 13.00-15.00 hrs in the Noordeinde room