This book uses a comparative historical approach to examine conflict in the relationship between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China between 1949 and 1993 and between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea between 1948 and 1993. Gu asserts that the relationships between these entities is neither international relations r domestic relations, but political relations sui generis. Calling these transpolital relations, he argues that they are generally more volatile, more prone to conflict, and more difficult to manage for the relevant parties than ordinary international or domestic relations. Gu compares the Chinese with the Korean case, and he attempts to account for the different patterns and levels of conflict using such variables as geography; local, regional, and global balance of power; and political leadership. They are valuable case studies for political scientists interested in China, Korea, conflict, the Cold War, U.S.-Soviet foreign policies, and the history of international relations in East Asia. As Professor Benjamin I. Schwartz tes in his foreword to the book, While some may differ with some of Dr. Gu's judgments on specific aspects of the recent internal history and external relations of the various polities involved, his extraordinarily rich account will immeasurably increase our comprehension of unfolding events.
Weiqun Gu is among the earliest beneficiaries of China's policy to open up to the West. After studying at the United World College of the Atlantic in Britain in 1973, he studied in the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages and worked, at different times, in the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Center for International Studies of the State Council. In 1985 he came to the United States, where he subsequently received his MA and PhD in political science from Harvard University.