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China and the international economic order: Bretton Woods, Bandung and beyond
It is commonly argued that China is rising within an international economic order not of its own creation. Yet, Nationalist China played an influential role in the development of the ‘Bretton Woods’ institutions – the International Monetary Fund, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – created in the dying days of World War II. Similarly, the People’s Republic of China played a major role in international economic talks at the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung. While Bretton Woods set up the dominant postwar economic order, Bandung was catalytic in establishing the post-colonial critique of that order. Drawing on newly available Chinese sources, this working paper examines: (1) how a leading, non-Western state understood the transition from an imperial economic order to a more intrusive, multilateral form of global economic ordering; (2) the extent to which the interests and values of a relatively weak state were reflected in this evolving order; and (3) how global inequalities in power shaped the content and reception of Chinese economic ideas.
Amy King is a Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, specialising on Chinese foreign and security policy, China-Japan relations, and the international relations and security of the Asia-Pacific region. She is concurrently an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow and a Westpac Research Fellow, and is engaged in a three-year research project examining China’s role in shaping the international economic order. Amy is the author of China-Japan Relations After World War II: Empire, Industry and War, 1949–1971 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). She received her D.Phil in International Relations and M.Phil in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford.