[1] Jang, Hye Ryeon and Smith, Benjamin. “Pax Petrolica? Rethinking the Oil-Interstate War Linkage.” Security Studies 30, no. 2 (2021). [Link]


In the last decade resource curse scholars have argued widely that oil-rich countries are more likely to initiate armed disputes with their neighbors. In this essay, we argue that the evidence points toward oil peace, not conflict, as a function of both domestic and international factors. We draw on analyses of our own dataset and two from past studies to show that the data is more supportive of petro-peace than of petro-aggression. We also demonstrate that the Iran–Iraq War is singularly responsible for what was believed to have been a radical-petro-aggression effect globally. We conclude that, to the extent that evidence suggests a trend, it is more likely for a Pax Petrolica.

[2] Lee, Jean Young and Jang, Hye Ryeon, “Bilingual Education Policy in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Uyghur Society.” The Korean Journal of Northeast Asia Studies 56 (2010): 105-132.

[3] Jang, Hye Ryeon, Jordan Quinones-Marrero, and Juan M. Hincapie-Castillo. “Environmental Scan of COVID-19 Infection Dashboards in the Florida Public School System.” Frontiers in Public Health (2022). [Link]

Work In Progress

1. “China’s Energy Vulnerability, Trade Dependence, and the Escalation of Its Militarized Maritime Disputes’’

Why has China escalated maritime disputes in the South China Sea but not in the East China Sea or Yellow Sea? Since China began its rapid economic development in the late 1980s, the rise of China has created both economic opportunities for, and security threats to, its neighbor states. As Southeast Asian states became more heavily dependent on bilateral trade with China in recent decades, the Chinese government has attempted to expand its influence in the South China Sea. The literature primarily focuses on China’s great power ambitions in East Asia as a whole. However, the puzzle of why China has not escalated its military actions in the East China Sea or Yellow Sea remains. I argue that two factors—China’s energy mercantilism (ambition to secure stable energy supplies) and its economic leverage over Southeast Asian states—explain this variation in strategy. Employing statistical analysis of an original dataset and GIS spatial analysis, I demonstrate that China is more likely to escalate disputes when it experiences greater energy vulnerability against more asymmetrically dependent neighbor states in which there exist higher geostrategic values, natural resources and proximity to major oil shipping lanes.

2. “Great Powers and the World Oil Market: A Network Analysis of China’s Rise and Shifting Oil Export Geography,’’ with Benjamin Smith

In this paper we address the role of great power alliances with oil producers and how they have changed in the last 50 years. Crude oil is the single largest commodity trade in the world, and most countries import oil from a small number of oil-producing countries through the international market. As such, there is always highly asymmetric structure. How does the emergence of a new great power, such as China, change the structure of the international crude oil market? If the great power has oil-producing allies, how does it affect the oil market? We employ spatial network analysis to answer the first question, where the oil trading countries are considered nodes, oil trading relations are considered edges, and weight is oil trade volume. Through spatial network analysis, we compare the crucial values of centrality, density, and modularity of the oil trade network before and after China’s emergence as a major power. We conclude that the oil trade network has become more centralized and ordered since China became a major oil-importing country in the mid-2000s. Traditional key oil-importing countries—the United States and Europe—lost influence in 2012 while China’s in-degree centrality in the network increased dramatically. Moreover, China has created its own trading blocs in the Middle East and Central Africa, which also indicate the critically increased influence of China within the global network. We then turn to the second question, accounting for whether major powers are oil producers or not, using global data from 1945 to 2010. We demonstrate that this question is key to understanding whether great power allies render oil producing countries more likely to initiate conflicts. The more import-dependent the major power, the less likely pressure on its producing allies, both before and after China’s rise.

3. “Ideological Convergence and China’s Model in Central and Eastern Europe,’’ with Qingming Huang

For many years, the prevailing liberal international order has been confronted with chronic problems from within the order and serious challenges from the rising great powers. The pandemic further exposes the tensions within the Western bloc, giving China an opportunity to advance its influence. Presenting itself as an alternative provider of economic opportunities and public goods in the global arena, China’s authoritarian political-economic model has become increasingly popular in Central and Eastern Europe. This model is characterized by the absence of political conditionality that favors liberal values and the exportation of domestic state-led model that helps build China’s economic strength. This paper analyzes the factors that lead to China’s growing influence in Central and Eastern Europe. The new wave of autocratization in this region and the divisions within the European Union pave the way for China to promote its model through the Belt and Road Initiative and more recently the “Health Silk Road”. However, the level of receptivity to China’s influence is conditioned by ideological convergence as well as external constraint from dominant Western powers. Focusing on the cases of Hungary, Poland (both EU members), and Serbia (non-EU member), this paper uses mixed method—statistical analysis and comparative case studies—to examine how these countries differ in their receptivity to China’s influence, and how their domestic political trend and their engagements with China’s model have affected their voting behavior and diplomatic support for China’s core interests in the European Parliament.

4. “Voting for China: EU’s Voting Alignment with China in the UN General Assembly with Dillon Fine”

The rise of China and 2008 global financial crisis created a situation where the European Union (EU) not only depends on cheap Chinese imports, but over time has also become increasingly reliant on Chinese investment to maintain their steady economic growth. China has become a major investor in the EU, as well as its second largest trading partner. Seventeen EU member states have joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as founding members, and many have also considered participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This increased economic dependence on China has created an opportunity for the Chinese government to expand its power projection over Europe. How has China’s economic leverage over the EU member states affected their voting behavior in international organizations? Is there any difference in voting behavior among the EU member states? In this paper, we created the China-EU voting cohesion index in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from 2009 to 2019 and conducted statistical analysis to test whether the EU’s economic dependence on China has changed their voting behavior in the UNGA. The results support our hypothesis that China and the EU show more coherent voting patterns as the EU’s economy depends on the Chinese.

5. “Wag the Dog? The Impact of Media on U.S. Foreign Policy towards China with Jordan Quinones-Marrero”

As the U.S.-China competition intensifies, the Biden administration has been imposing aggressive foreign policy toward China and news on China has flooded media platforms. In literature, there lacks a consensus the media’s impact on foreign policy. This paper aims to examine how the media contributes to the aggressive foreign policy towards China. We argue that the media’s projection of China’s hostility contributes to the US aggressive foreign policy. Recently, China has become considered as the potential enemy. However, it is contestable whether China is a real threat. Thus, the media has potential to perform as an independent actor to influence foreign policy under non-urgent situations, China’s hostile images prevalent in media tend to make the U.S. government less hesitant to implement aggressive foreign policy towards China. We conducted web scrapping and collected the New York Times articles and Biden’s speech in 2021. Using the text data, we employed computational text analysis to measure the daily sentiment scores of the U.S. government and media’s projection of China. Based on a daily dataset, we used a non-recursive statistical model to measure how negative emotions surrounding China projected by news media outlets impact Biden’s rhetoric towards China with some feedback loop, and found results that align with our theory. The results of this paper provide a foundation for future scholarly research on the reevaluation of the media’s impact on foreign policy.