China’s foreign policy

4 May

With increased economic power to China, comes a need to develop her foreign policy. China has opted to remain fairly isolated with foreign affairs, prioritising domestic issues over those overseas, but, with more power being endowed upon China, comes a need to increase overseas awareness. China is still very much a third world county in terms of politics and foreign affairs, and therefore still has significant amounts of catching up to do to the west. China calls for an overhaul of foreign policy, becoming more proactive with overseas affairs. Many believe China is now strong enough to not accept western decisions, and should set for their own agenda. It is likely China would gain the support of other developing nations, and specifically African nations, as China has invested much money, many workers, and productive infrastructure within these regions. However, China has not prepared for world leadership, and is unprepared for this. In many respect, their economic growth has come too quickly for even their leaders, which has caused this unpreparedness, and vital need of both change and action. Its military, much like its political system is still far behind the west, further weakening her foreign policy.

However, a new foreign policy as of march 2013 has set out key priorities. Although domestic issue continue to be of paramount importance, and are still prioritised, Chinas foreign policy has started to develop aims. China wants to start challenging US attempts to contain Chinas rise, although it is still noted relations with the US are still vital. Furthermore, relations with India have also been perceived as imperative, as it is unwanted in Chinas personal opinion, for relations to develop with India and America. Furthermore, China strives to ease tension with Japan, resolve conflict in the South China Sea, and improve relations with North Korea, which are extremely important considering the current predicament. Above all, Chinas main foreign policy remains regaining respect as a major power, and to be seen as a responsible member of the international community, as it feels it has been humiliated by foreign invaders for over a century.

Sources:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/22/china-foreign-policy-catchup-status

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/1820026/column-china-sets-a-new-foreign-policy-agenda-to-enhance-its-clout

http://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/chinas-foreign-policy-dilemma

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3 Responses to “China’s foreign policy”

  1. gw2g11 May 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    It is very interesting to consider China’s foreign policy and what international status the Chinese leaders want their country to reach in the future. I think that in recent years the Chinese government has begun to understand that it ought to pay more attention to domestic welfare and stability. Following on that, a question becomes whether it is necessary for China to fully transform into a global superpower. To challenge the supremacy of the US in this regard, in a way that is too forceful, could result in disruption of the peaceful international environment that the Chinese export-oriented economy depend on, especially if it would lead to armed conflict. Although China will definitely keep a high profile in its future foreign policy, I believe that the interest of the Chinese goverment will primarily lie with promoting and strengthening positive attitudes towards China.

  2. samhemming May 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    The timing of China turning its attention from domestic issues to foreign affairs may just be the most recent development of China’s ‘opening up’ that started with Deng Xiaoping. It was only in the late 1970’s that China opened up from the isolationism enacted by Mao Zedong. China reached its current position as the world’s second largest economy in 2010 surpassing Japan. It may be now that China is choosing to increasingly exert its influence overseas after concentrating on improving its economy for the last thirty or so years. China’s dedication to this aim seems evident from what has been ignored, such as environmental concerns. While before China had been a small economy looking to be included in international trade in the past, China is now an economic powerhouse able to throw its weight around on the international stage. Examples of this include the South China Sea situation and snub to Cameron.

    Also China’s investment in and aid to Africa may mean that China can grow and become a superpower without challenging the supremacy of America aggressively, as gw2g11 says. As long as China avoids confronting America too directly in their traditional stomping grounds, such as South America and the Middle East, a multipolar world may be able to develop. But the issue of how many significant powers the world can peacefully support is interesting if the rest of the BRIC countries follow China’s example.

  3. timhaythorne May 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    China has established itself as an economic superpower, but as stated above, it is still politically lagging and doesn’t quite have the status it desires in terms of respect.

    However, I believe that this is a results of poor human capital accumulation over the past 50 years. China has grown through trade of manufactured goods, and those industries have grown themselves courtesy of cheap labour on a grand scale. However, a pattern is emerging across China’s labour force which suggests that both of these factors may be on the brink of change.

    The rates of attendance at both domestic and foreign universities has grown rapidly in recent years. This is exemplified by the fact that the number of Chinese students at US universities increase by 23% between 2010-11. This transition is also reflected in China’s industrial change. More and more workers are beginning to work in the service sector as the numbers in agriculture continue to plummet alongside plateauing numbers in the manufacturing sector. Those in export industries are also beginning to create far more advanced goods, with exports of high-tech goods rocketing in recent years.

    I believe, that it will not be long before China’s level of labour productivity will reach a standard at which it will be unchallenged. It is through this that they will secure the international respect and status that they deserve. No longer will they be famed for their supply of cheap labour – they will still have that, but they will also have the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity to rival that of their main rivals, the US and Japan.

    It is for this reason, that I believe China should not worry about ties to the US as much as it should be concerned with its relationships with other up-and-coming economic powers such as Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. It is through relationships such as trade with these powers that China will secure its long term status as a competitive and dominant international force both on an economic and a political level.

    Sources:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/asia/china-ivy-league-admission

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