The Enduring US-led Arms Embargo on China: An Objectives–Implementation Analysis

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Since the end of the Cold War, arms embargoes have typically been imposed on isolated and relatively weak states. Exceptionally, the 1989 US-led arms embargo on China is imposed on an influential world power that has various means to deal with it. Moreover, it has so far failed to change the behavior of and reduce arms imports by the targeted state—two basic parameters of arms embargo success. Attempting to explain the endurance of China arms embargo and building on the vast literature of international sanctions, the article closely examines the embargo’s changing goals, costs, and implementation over the years. Arguing that the evolvement of these three components has kept the embargo cost-effective, the article enhances our understanding of the effectiveness of US China policy and concurrently illustrates the capacity of international sanctions to expose the true goal hierarchy, means, and political processes that underlie foreign policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1010
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary China
Issue number120
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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