China is one of the strongest nations in the world both militarily and economically, the biggest market, the epicenter of almost all the global supply chains and the emerging super power. Geographically, it has many neighbors and together with Russia has the largest number of land borders with neighboring countries because it is a huge state with an extremely long international border. It has 14 neighbors including Russia, Mongolia, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Since its independence, it has worked hard to remain an important player in the international arena. Being a member of United Nations Security Council, it has an advantage too. The most prominent rival of China in the International affairs is the Unites States of America. The relations between the two have always been sour, but they never involved in a direct military confrontation with each other. And unlike Russia, China never wanted to be integrated into the west or be a part of the West; rather it realizes its own importance in the international sphere and has adopted rational approaches in becoming the major global player. This paper will be discussing the strengths of the contemporary foreign policy of China under the leadership of Xi Jinping. China has undoubtedly become a major influence under his regime and has improved its relations with the other states. Although there are many plus points and advantageous aspects of the contemporary foreign policy, but there are some backlashes too.
Shift from Traditional policy:
Xi Jinping has been crowned as the China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Xi wants to change the policy and deviate it from the traditional policies of China, and these policies have invited the comparison to Trump’s difficulties in achieving his diplomatic and legislative agenda. An important strength of the Chinas new foreign policy under Xi Jinping is it grand strategy that China will abandon the “avoiding brightness” strategy of Deng Xiaoping and shift towards an activist and more visible posture. China has also been a part of many summits with Donald Trump that reflects that it is willing to break the traditional diplomatic constraints.
Global hunt for energy:
An unprecedented need for resources now drives the China’s foreign policy. Chinese population is the largest in the world with a count of almost 1.4 billion. To feed the population of 1.4b people is not an easy task. That makes up around 18.47% of the total world’s population. The resources of the state are not sufficient to meet the needs of the people so, in order to feed such big size of its population, Chinas has to look into the foreign resources too. China has invested a lot in the foreign states in search of resources. This counts as strength of the Chinas foreign policy in a way that China’s resources hunt has been a boon for the developing states. It is allowing many states to exploit their resources which they didn’t even they had, or either they lacked the proper systems and methods to extract those resources. Indirectly, China’s helping the developing states to improve their economic conditions, worrying USA and developed states at the same time.
Internationalization of firms:
As mentioned earlier, China has been looking into and investing a lot into the foreign resources. This has led to the internationalization of the Chinese companies and firms. Chinas presence in other states and almost all parts of the globe, be it Africa, Asia, or Europe, has been a worrying thing for the USA and its allies. China has increased its presence an internalized its institutes, showing more of a liberal approach. This has also made the states look differently to it, and not as being a power grabber, communist hegemon, unlike the Russia.
The Belt and Road initiative:
China portrays the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as China’s signature contribution to international openness and development. One Belt One Road is one the most influencing and a clear example that China’s model is not only useful for the developing states, but also for the developed states. There is also a growing confidence that China can assume a leading global role in the world and serve as an example not just for developing countries but for the entire world.
Tibet as STRENGTH:
The relations between China and India are also no so good, that’s why Tibet is so important for China. China took Tibet over 5000 years ago. And China thinks that if it would not have ruled Tibet, maybe India would have ruled it. Tibet, in a way serves as a geographical protection between China and India. China has started BRI in Tibet region too, which aims at integrating more into the Chinese territory. Another reason, for which China needs Tibet, is the Water. The two largest rivers that make the eastern part of China so agricultural, com from Tibet and the loss of Tibet would set a catastrophic blow to China’s economy.
China in Africa:
China has invested a lot in the African continent and has been helping the continentto improve its health and economic sector. According to many sources, Africa has emerged as China’s China. China has pumped enormous amount of money into the continent and has been helping it to grow economically. It is strength because Africa is a continent which has enormous resources, but lacks the systems and methods to exploit those resources. Africa includes the poorest states of the world and when USA being a super power, didn’t think about helping those states, China came forward for them, reflecting as a responsible emerging power.
A responsible Super power:
China has been making influence worldwide through its policies. If we take the example of contemporary situation of the pandemic of corona virus prevailing in the world, Italy, when it was hit by the pandemic, asked the EU for the aid, but the EU and USA (being an ally of Italy), turned down their ears on the Italy’s call. China took an advantage of the situation and provided Italy with the medical aid needed to fight the pandemic. China made an influence there. Similarly, it helped other European states like France that ran out of the important equipment, and provided them with masks and the pharmaceutical equipment. Unlike USA, it’s proving the world to be a more responsible super power.
*Nageen Ashraf is currently a student of Bachelors in “Defense and Diplomatic studies” at Fatima Jinnah Women University, and can be reached out at [email protected]