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China’s Geo Economics Interests In Africa Essay

1655 words - 7 pages

China’s geo-economics interests in Africa are inseparably linked with its military and strategic analysis of a post bipolar worldview, which requires defending China’s positions in international forums such as the UN, and positioning itself as a global power, while sometimes taking a firm stand against the US. China’s Africa policy cannot be divorced from its overall grand strategy, which includes a great power diplomacy focused on establishing partnerships to increase its attractiveness. Africa’s strategic importance, in China’s foreign policy calculations vis-à-vis other great powers, has grown as countries deal with the problem of ‘peak oil’ and seek sources of reliable supply of natural ...view middle of the document...

He also notes that “at other times, competition with the United States for markets, oil supplies, and influence led China to work against US policies.” (Sutter, 2008, p.46).
The overall goal of China is to avoid the dangers of vulnerability and possible victimization by its rivals. Indeed as China has asserted itself globally in an increasingly multipolar world, it has lent its diplomatic support to anti-western regimes in Africa with challenging human rights records, including Zimbabwe and Sudan. As noted earlier, this support has meant blunting political criticisms or blocking UN action, the case of Dafur is an example. It has also meant a forceful arms trade, exemplified in a negative sense by the publicized case of a Chinese vessel that was ordered back home after South African dock workers refused to unload weapons bound for Mugabe’s government, military exchanges, and joint military training. The difference between the new China’s military and strategic approach now compared to the days of the post-colonial period is clear: China has moved from working with the developing countries of the non-aligned movement to avoid the embarrassments of the cold war, to a more determined effort to protect its strategic interests as a growing global power. The diplomatic, economic and military engagement in Africa also served to enhance important national priorities of securing energy and mineral resources, expanding exports, and pushing for eventual China-Taiwan reunification. There is even an extension of Africa’s strategic importance in the area of space development. As Drew Thompson points out, China maintains a space tracking station in Namibia and uses South African ports of call to support space tracking ships (Thompson, 2005, p.23). As China’s geostrategic behavior in Africa seems to reinforce its support for the tenets of the five principles of peaceful co-existence of the Bandung era, it is less constrained by ideational concerns of the outside world when its resource foothold in African countries is subject to any form of international challenge. China’s strategic push in Africa is geared more to protecting its resource rich friends and ensuring that natural resources flow unhindered, and also open up markets for Chinese products and investments. In a sense, the new China is more strategic in pursuing its core interests and less enamored of the need to be viewed as a responsible great power. China’s peaceful rise does not mean that it will pursue policies in Africa that abandon’s some of its less-than-peaceful energy sources. For instance, China has deployed about 4,000 troops to Southern Sudan to guard an oil pipeline in the region (Brookes and Shin, 2006, p.5). Additionally, Beijing’s strategic behavior is mounting a serious challenge to the view of Africa as a Western European backyard from the days of colonialism. Military cooperation with African countries is one way for Beijing to assert its growing influence on the continent. As with...

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