FALL 2007

Tuesdays, Thursdays 11:00-12:15pm

DuSable 246


Dr. Y.K. Wang

Office: Zulauf 416

Office Hours: T & TH 2:00-3:30, and by appointment

Tel: (815)753-7058

E-mail: ykwang@niu.edu



Course Description:


This course introduces students to the international relations in one of the most dynamic regions of the world—East Asia. The region’s impressive economic growth presents opportunities for trade and investment, yet three of the world’s potential hot spots (the Korean peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea) are located in the region. In the aftermath of the Cold War, international relations scholarship is paying increasing attention to East Asia. Like Europe, East Asia was a major area for contest for the superpowers during the Cold War. Unlike Europe, however, post-Cold War East Asia is witnessing a major geopolitical shift—the rise of China, the implications of which remain uncertain. How do we better understand the region? This course aims to provide students with the necessary knowledge and analytical skills to begin to answer this question.


The course is structured in three parts. The first covers the historical background of East Asian international relations. Many of the contemporary issues have their roots in history, and it is essential that students have a good grasp of the region’s history. The second part deals with regional actors. We will study their foreign policy toward the region as well as their influence on events happening there. The last part will examine the emerging issues in East Asia, including prospects for peace and conflict, U.S.-China relations, Sino-Japanese relations, the Taiwan Strait, and North Korea’s nuclear programs.


Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to describe the foreign policy of major actors in the region, understand the history of East Asian international affairs, be acquainted with the substance of the dynamic events happening in the area, and critically analyze how particular factors influence the course of regional events.


Course Requirements:


Students should have a general background in international relations before taking this course (POLS 285 highly recommended). You are expected to attend every class and have completed all of the assigned readings before class. In addition, you are required to keep informed of current international affairs in East Asia by reading the major newspapers.


Required Books:


Two books are required for this course:


Yahuda, Michael. The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.


Kim, Samuel S., ed. The International Relations of Northeast Asia. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.


These books are available for purchase at the NIU Bookstore. They will also be put on 2-hour reserve at Founders Memorial Library.


For those who wish to understand the deep history of the region, I recommend this book (optional):


Cohen, Warren I. East Asia at the Center: Four Thousand Years of Engagement with the World. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.




Class Participation                           15%

Four Reading Quizzes                    15%

Research Paper Assignment          20%    

Midterm Exam                                 20%

Final Exam                                        30%


Class participation, including both attendance and classroom discussion, constitutes 15% of your final grade. Attendance is mandatory. Students who are found to have missed more than five class sessions will receive a zero for their participation grade. You will not do well if you regularly miss class—you will likely miss one or more of the unannounced reading quizzes too. In classroom discussion, I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts and reactions to the materials covered in class. I will usually add points to your participation grade if you actively contribute to discussion.


You must have completed all the readings before each class. To encourage this process, there will be five unannounced reading quizzes throughout the semester. However, only four will count toward the 15% of your final grade. These quizzes are short and straightforward, designed to test your understanding of the assigned readings. You should find them easy if you have done the readings. Make-up quizzes will not be allowed. If you miss one quiz, make sure you take the other four.


The research paper assignment constitutes 20% of your final grade. The assignment will be announced on October 23, in class and on Blackboard. Your paper should be 5-7 pages in length, double-spaced, and use size-12 font. The assignment is due at the beginning of class on November 20. Ten percent of the paper grade will be deducted for each day the paper is late.


The midterm exam will be held on October 18 and constitutes 20% of your final grade. The final exam will be held on December 11 and constitutes 30% of your final grade. The final will not be cumulative and will instead cover only the materials after the midterm. Prior to each exam, I will discuss the exam format and my grading criteria.


Your final letter grades will be based on the following grading scale:


90% to 100% = A

80% to 89%    = B

70% to 79%    = C

60% to 69%    = D

0%   to 59%    = F


Course Policies:


1.      Make-up Exams: A make-up exam will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. You must inform me as soon as possible before the scheduled exam. Requests without prior notification and documented evidence will not be accepted and will result in a zero grade for the exam.

2.      Classroom Etiquette: Please be courteous and respectful of others while in class. For example, attend class on time; turn off cell phones, pagers, or anything that makes noises; do not leave class early; etc.

3.      Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis; maintaining equity for everyone is crucial.

4.      Academic Misconduct: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. The NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: “students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” Moreover, do not submit a paper written for another course. “Double-dipping” is strictly prohibited and will result in a failed paper grade. If you have questions, consult with the instructor before submitting your paper.




Most of the communication for this course will be conducted through the university’s Blackboard Course Server. This course website can be accessed only by students enrolled in this course. The URL for Blackboard is http://webcourses.niu.edu. Login to Blackboard with your student Z-ID and password. For login questions go to http://www.helpdesk.niu.edu/ and click on “Blackboard” or contact ITS at 753-8100. The system uses your NIU student webmail account.  If you wish to receive course-related e-mails at another address, you need to forward mail from your NIU account to another account. Learn how to do this on the ITS helpdesk home page (http://www.its.niu.edu/its/helpdesk/webmail_students.shtml). 


Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities: NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandates reasonable accommodations be provided for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (815-753-1303). I look forward to talking with you soon to learn how I may be helpful in enhancing your academic success in this course.


Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28th. All copies should have two cover pages-one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.


Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.





(Any changes will be announced in class or on Blackboard)

Week 1

August 28                  Overview


August 30                  APSA Conference (NO CLASS)




Week 2

September 4                         International Relations Theory and East Asia


·         Stephen M. Walt, "International Relations: One World, Many Theories." Foreign Policy, no. 110 (Spring 1998): 29-46.

·         Samuel S. Kim, “Northeast Asia in the Local-Regional-Global Nexus,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 1 (read pp. 18-51).


September 6             Historical Background: Early 20th Century to WW II


·         Warren I. Cohen, East Asia at the Center: Four Thousand Years of Engagement with the World (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), chapters 10, 11.


Week 3

September 11           The Early Cold War


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 1.


September 13           The East Asian Balance of Power: Bipolarity


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 2.


Week 4

September 18           The East Asian Balance of Power: The “China Card”


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 3.





September 20           The United States


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 4.

·         Kent E. Calder, “U.S. Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 7.


Week 5

September 25           The Soviet Union/Russia


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 5.

·         Gilbert Rozman, “Russian Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 6.


September 27           China


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 6.


Week 6

October 2                   Japan


·         Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 7.


October 4                   South Korea


  • Chung-in Moon and Taehwan Kim, “South Korea’s International Relations: Challenges to developmental Realism?” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 8.


Week 7

October 9                   North Korea


  • C.S. Eliot Kang, “North Korea’s International Relations: The Successful Failure?” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 9.


October 11                 Taiwan


·         Lynn T. White III, “Taiwan’s External Relations: Identity versus Security,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 10.


Week 8

October 16                 Catch Up and Review


October 18                 Mid-term Exam





Week 9

October 23                 Ripe for Rivalry?


  • Aaron L. Friedberg, "Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar World." International Security 18, no. 3 (Winter 1993/94): 5-33.
  • Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 8.


October 25                 Set for Stability?


  • Robert S. Ross, "The Geography of the Peace: East Asia in the Twenty-First Century." International Security 23, no. 4 (Spring 1999): 81-118.


Week 10

October 30                 Rise of China—I


  • Avery. Goldstein, "Great Expectations: Interpreting China's Arrival." International Security 22, no. 3 (Winter 1997/98): 36-73.
  • Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 10.


November 1              Rise of China—II


  • Alastair Iain Johnston, “China’s International Relations: The Political and Security Dimensions,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 2
  • Thomas G. Moore, “China’s International Relations: The Economic Dimensions,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 3.


Week 11

November 6              U.S.-China Relations—I


  • Yahuda, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, chapter 9.


November 8              U.S.-China Relations—II


  • Aaron L. Friedberg, "The Future of U.S.-China Relations: Is Conflict Inevitable?" International Security 30, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 7-45.
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski and John J. Mearsheimer, “Debate: Clash of the Titans,” Foreign Policy, no. 146 (Jan/Feb 2005): 46-50.


Week 12

November  13           Japan’s Transformation


  • Christopher W. Hughes and Ellis S. Krauss, “Japan's New Security Agenda,” Survival 49, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 157-176.


November 15            Sino-Japanese Relations


  • Kent E. Calder, "China and Japan's Simmering Rivalry." Foreign Affairs 85, no. 2 (March/April 2006): 129-139.
  • Denny Roy, "The Sources and Limits of Sino-Japanese Tensions." Survival 47, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 191-214.

Week 13

November 20            North Korea’s Nuclear Program


Research Paper Due

·         Jonathan D. Pollack, “North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program to 2015: Three Scenarios,” Asia Policy, no. 3 (January 2007): 105-123. Available at: http://nbr.org/publications/asia_policy/AP3/AP3Pollack.pdf

November 22            Thanksgiving Break (NO CLASS)


Week 14

November 27            The Taiwan Strait


  • Steven Goldstein and Randall Schriver. "An Uncertain Relationship: The United States, Taiwan, and the Taiwan Relations Act." China Quarterly, no. 165 (December 2001): 147-72.
  • Kenneth Lieberthal, "Preventing a War over Taiwan." Foreign Affairs 84, no. 2 (March/April 2005): 53-63.


November 29            East Asia after 9/11


·         Morton Abramowitz and Stephen Bosworth, “Adjusting to the New Asia,” Foreign Affairs 82, no. 4 (July/August 2003): 119-131.

·         Phillips C. Saunders, “The United States and East Asian after Iraq,” Survival 49, no.1 (Spring 2007): 141-152.


Week 15

December 4               Looking Ahead


  • Lowell Dittmer, “The Emerging Northeast Asian Regional Order,” in Kim ed., The International Relations of Northeast Asia, chapter 11.

December 6               Conclude and Review


Week 16

December 11                         Final Exam