Africa in the Hierarchy of China's Core National Interests

For most of its history, China has been the center of the East Asian system of interstate relations. After a period of “one hundred years of humiliation” (1840–1949), the first 60 years of the PRC (1949–2009), and the World financial crisis in 2008, China regained the status of the center of the international system and the world economy. The foreign policy of both ancient and modern China is based on the principles of egocentrism and a global network of partnerships. Particular attention has always been paid to the border countries surrounding China, from which a real threat to the existence of the state could come. Other countries—the farther they were from China, the less they were interested in it. In the twenty-first century, with the advent of Xi Jinping, China began to pursue the diplomacy of great power and put forward the principle of China's core national interests, as well as normative requirements for establishing and developing relations with other countries. The priorities of China's foreign policy today look like this: the U.S., Russia, neighboring countries, great powers, and only then developing countries (Asia, Latin America, and Africa). A comparative analysis and a systematic approach demonstrate that Africa now is at the very periphery of China’s foreign policy, although in 2018 direct investment in Africa in the amount of $ 200 billion already exceeded China’s investment in the U.S., which reached $ 150 billion. However, the U.S., the EU, and ASEAN countries occupy first, second, and third place in China's foreign trade. Africa is more interested in China as a political ally—54 votes in the UN are an essential resource of Chinese diplomacy. The author concludes that China’s foreign policy is a dichotomy between geoeconomic, where China, as a developed power, is at the center of the world economy together with developed/western countries, and geopolitics, in which Beijing positions itself as a developing country that it has not been for a long time, together with other countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Springer Nature
  • 1 RUDN University, Moscow, Russian Federation
Ключевые слова
Africa; China; Developing countries; Hierarchy; National interest; UN
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