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The EU's Security Policy towards China: A Liberal-Relational Approach to Hard Security Issues

Martin Renner

The current stock of literature on EU security policy towards China lacks an adequate conceptual and theoretical reflection of the core terms security and security policy. Thus, the verdicts on EU security policy towards China - including the claim of a policy change in terms of realignment with the US since 2005 - remain ambiguous.The main argument of this paper is that in order to properly capture the distinct nature of the EU's security policy towards China, the notions of security and security policy have to be conceptualized beyond both the military sector and the Copenhagen School's 'logic of urgency and extraordinary measures'. Therefore, I will propose a conceptual framework for analyzing the EU's security policy. On that basis, I will show by means of a discourse analysis that the EU's security policy towards China follows a liberal-relational understanding of security and security policy and that this policy has remained constant over the last one and a half decades. These discursive structures are thus largely immune to leadership changes both in Europe and in China.Thus I'm contesting the notion maintained by many scholars that after 2005 there has been a realignment of the EU with US positions on East Asian security and particularly on China.

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