Chinese Foreign Policy: A New Era Dawns

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Anne-Marie Brady via The Diplomat,

A new era is dawning in Chinese foreign policy as the country’s economic growth enables it to move from past timorousness in declaring itself a global leader and a relative inability to defend its interests, to one in which Beijing can seek adjustments in the security environment it has faced for the last sixty years. In the Chinese-language media, politicians are increasingly talking of China as a great power. Yet Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put Beijing’s new foreign policy to the test and raised questions about the extent of China’s global role.

China is close to meeting all the measures of what defines a global great power: political, economic, and military might with a global reach. But it does not appear to act like a great power in terms of its contribution to international leadership during conflict situations such as in Ukraine. Instead we repeatedly only see Beijing being assertive when it comes to defending its own narrow interests.

While Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy dictum was for China to “hide its strength and bide its time” (taoguang yanghui), in January 2014 Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping announced that China should be “proactive” (fenfa you wei). This is the equivalent of China moving from first gear into second; and like second gear, the pace of this new foreign policy can sometimes be jagged.

As the Russian intervention in citizen unrest in Ukraine has played out, Beijing has held back from criticizing Moscow, citing China’s long-standing policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. While China decries the interference of “hostile foreign forces” in popular protests in Xinjiang and Tibet, it appears that it won’t take a public stance on Russia’s breach of Ukrainian sovereignty. In phone calls to U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 10, Xi urged the two leaders to use political and diplomatic means to resolve the standoff.

On March 15, China’s UN representative put forward a three-point proposal on a political solution to the crisis; urging the formation of an international group to help mediate; recommending all parties refrain from further provocation; and suggesting international financial actors should help stabilize Ukraine’s economic situation. Yet, China abstained from the UN draft resolution on the same day, which condemned today’s referendum aimed at legitimizing the transfer of the Crimea from Ukraine to Russia. As a leading power and permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has exercised its “right to speak” (huayu quan) on the situation in Ukraine, but is avoiding involvement in the international response. The 13 other members of the Security Council all voted in favor of the resolution, while Russia opposed it.

In Chinese foreign policy terms Xi and his representative at the UN have been quite outspoken. But outside China, many would agree that China’s response is too little, too late. It is behavior such as this in times of international crisis that has led commentators to question whether or not China is a “reluctant stakeholder” in the global order and whether or not China is still just a regional power.

Since becoming general secretary of the CCP in 2012, Xi Jinping has overseen an expansion of China’s economic reforms and opening up to the outside world, at the same time as leading a new clampdown on freedom of speech and association, and tightening security against Uighur and Tibetan populations.

Under Xi’s leadership China has gone head to head with Japan on contested territory in the East China Sea, declared a new ADIZ over the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, and been increasingly assertive in the South China Sea.

China’s economic model requires new markets and privileged access to resources and this will be a moderating factor in their foreign policy approach. Beijing can’t afford to offend its neighbor Russia for a complex range of reasons, ranging from internal and external security and access to new sources of energy supply.

The competitive and contentious external environment China faces in its immediate neighborhood requires Beijing to take a relatively cautious and tactful national security approach in the short to medium term. At the same time it is strengthening its external environment, especially on the periphery, whenever it can.

So we can expect to see Chinese foreign policy verge from being at times assertive and proactive; to in other situations being ambiguous and non-confrontational. Where China cannot affect change, it makes the best out of the current global order and quietly pursues own interests; but where the possibility of creating new norms exists, Beijing acts assertively.

In the 1990s, Chinese policymakers conducted in-depth studies on the lessons to be learned from the fall of the Soviet Union. In the 2000s they studied the rise and fall of other great powers such as Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain—and the United States—and the lessons each held for China.

This is why as a rising great power, despite this year’s 12.2 percent budget increase to the PLA, China is not likely to follow the U.S. or the Soviet Union in making burdensome investments in military spending. The PLA budget is only 2 percent of China’s GDP; versus the current U.S. figure of 4.4 percent and the Soviet Union’s figure of 13-14 percent just before the Gorbachev era began in the mid-1980s.

China is instead investing in asymmetric warfare, focusing on electro-magnetic pulse weapons, cyber and space warfare, and a small but adequate nuclear deterrent; meanwhile creating a complex network of China-centered bilateral and multilateral agreements such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, free trade agreements with states such as Iceland, and less formalized, issue-specific partnerships with states strategically important to China such as Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Russia.

China is a relatively insecure new great power, both in its internal politics and in terms of the external environment it faces. So it has to be both increasingly proactive about defending its interests and ambiguous about what its actual interests are in order to delay open conflict with other potential competitors for as long as possible.

China is by no means a reluctant stakeholder; rather a reluctant leader. We should not expect China to behave as previous and present great powers have done; it is forging its own path in international relations and will need to resolve its own sense of insecurity before it responds as a true global leader might to a geopolitical crisis such as the one unfolding in Ukraine.

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kaiserhoff's picture

Just in time to go SPLAT!

Harbanger's picture

We will send our best bitches.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

China Foreign Policy...

Wi mei ku ting, yu bai ting. Wen buleiku, ta fu luk!

Oh regional Indian's picture

No new era dawning. Just a change of scene.

Scene 3, Act 1...aaaaaannddddd....




i-dog's picture

And Tyler continues to insult our intelligence by posting this shite from the Diplomat. Embarassing.

Oh regional Indian's picture

By the looks of it, I think the Tyler's don't care too much about their demographic any more.

Something is diferent here....

Fe, fi, fo....etc...


mvsjcl's picture

Allowing articles with statements such as "Yet Russia’s invasion of Ukraine..." does give one pause.


Edit: Point made below by socalbeach.

MisterMousePotato's picture

"Instead we repeatedly only see Beijing being assertive when it comes to defending its own narrow interests."

In other words, China will not import Haitians with AIDs.

merizobeach's picture


Right?!  I click on the article thinking, "hm, analysis of chinese foreign policy.. (interesting)"  Then I see, "submitted by [so-and-so] from The Diplomat".  Then I swear and curse, skip the article, and post this complaint.

Fuck you, media-asshole-warmongers, even if Chinese foreign policy is also composed by a bunch of asshole-warmongers, which I'm sure that it is.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Recommendated extended service pran with much vigour. Wisdomary advisement not taken, now sadness much.

X_mloclaM's picture


"China is not likely to follow the U.S. or the Soviet Union in making burdensome investments"

I kno this is chopped, but that's just the point, wasteful misallocation on grand scales due to central banking and national decrees directing spending

So they missed the point in the big 'study', or is it they're on the IMF bubble game, to afffect new monetary sys?

Apostate2's picture

You and Boris would make a new comedy team now that Akak is dearly departed.

Anusocracy's picture

There are actually no great powers.

Only relatively small groups of high-function psychopaths that are adept at stealing wealth from larger groups of capable productive people.

They then use that wealth to impede progress, erode freedom, and undermine civilization as any other savage would if in control.

There is nothing great about that.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Ah, behold another excretion from The Diplomat. Do they just pilfer these "articles" from disreputable sites that sell undergraduate level term papers?

Dr. Sandi's picture

Since when is sticking the national dick into every black hole on the planet the sign of a world leader?

What the hell is wrong with minding your own god-damned business?

Nehweh Gahnin's picture


" does not appear to act like a great power in terms of its contribution to international leadership during conflict situations such as in Ukraine. Instead we repeatedly only see Beijing being assertive when it comes to defending its own narrow interests."

The world would be a much nicer place if the U.S. would follow the same approach.

BigJim's picture

Yeah, I love neocons' calls for 'leadership'... 'leadership' into what, I want to ask them? Tyranny? Bankruptcy? The total militarisation of the West?

Element's picture

It's a truly diabolical sentence and concept, designed and assured to engender conflict if acted on. The war mongering 'Diplomat' can go to hell, but you can see why US and European 'Diplomacy' (which it isn't) is in such a scandalous state of serial failure when enthralled with such dissonant imperious swill.

medium giraffe's picture

You lost me at economic growth...

kaiserhoff's picture

Confucius say:

  If yu po somebitch,

   yo raggedy ass gets laughed at.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

But Confucius also is say:

Yu bi po man, lai fu no fa ni ting.

socalbeach's picture

They lost me at,

"Yet Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ..."

More horse manure from "The Diplomat".

zionhead's picture

When I first saw this new post on ZH, I run to see who posted it, and there it was the "DIPLOMAT", fuck we know instantly what we're going to get.

Well HER lips are moving but did she say anything topical?


ZH what's the fucking point? Just blogger fodder?

There isn't enough here to comment on.


To be an anti-zio curmudgeon, allow me to say that the DIPLOMAT is saying that RUSSIA is  bad, and that CHINA is good if kept on leash.

Given the MH-370 CIA OPERATION to steal KAZAKH oil from RUSSIA, CHINA go along they good,

One year from now? WW3 will be hotter than shit.

If ZIO's get away with stealing the KAZAKH oil, anybody think they will quit stealing and KILLING? FUCK NO

If the CIA gets' away with killing 100's of CHINESE (MALAY&KUNMING), and the CHINESE don't retaliate, it can only mean that the CHINSE are now ZIO bitches.



Harbanger's picture

Can't we all just get along?  Fuck everybody.

X_mloclaM's picture

as rediculous as that ho is, that post is 'bout right. Why else would they (the CCP) do this shit, u know, invite JPM in deep, and then vocalize over having the IMF run a gobal monetary system, with a global tax. Global slavery.

zionhead's picture

It's the age old debate my friends, your ship the titanic is sinking, and you there dozens' of lifeboats chose from, there is the whore boat, the gambler boat, the spic boat, the jew boat, the banker boat, the wap boat, the hair-lip boat, the russian boat, ...

You know your going to be at sea for weeks, which boat to you hop in?

What has Russia in terms of making money done for CHINA?

Is china going be partners with Mexico some other 3rd world country?

Me thinks the CHINESE will go with the NWO crowd, that way China continues to grow and minimizes to expenses on defense.


WRT to my question, you know the Jew boat has the smartest guys, but the banker boat has the best food. Ahh, I'll take the Jew boat and then I know the smartest guys on the ocean are on the helm of my lifeboat.


What CHINA needed to JOIN the NWO (ZIONISM) was cover, the murder in KUNGMING and MH-370 provided that cover, ... The chinese are now in  the ZIONIST BOAT.


The end of history is here.



KennyW's picture

"The Diplomat", code name for CIA opinion bender.

Anusocracy's picture

Lower psychopaths that suck up to the alpha-psychopaths.

Together they make up the main retardant to human progress.

X_mloclaM's picture

Actually true.

Consider this statement:  "The US Middle Class (I know, I know, going the way of the dodo) lived better than any King of yore"

While perhaps without the servants and as large, or as dank, or blocky of a 'home,' we must consider the servant of technology, the industrial revolution, and Juicy Couture/LuLu.

Should society freely trade, with one world money, gold & silver, the untold losses of opportunity costs will become apparent as the flower unfolds yet again, as from whale oil to shale oil, our lanterns didn't run dry...

These leeches would be fatter than the fattest, these technobubbles are slow in their resolutions... the detritus is ugh, such a retarded Jap like burden.

These bitches could suck way more cream out, should they let the crash come with the repudiation of the Fed's charter, debt, currency, default on it as a people. Nullify, retract the laws as the States sign on to legal tender. REAL affordable market clearing valuations hit, and those without can finally enjoy everyday low prices, possibly a rising real standard of living over time, but first by inflation, so shit go with this 15t in Chiner and hit up the monetary transmission channels excuse to do a 123 dance, n buy Ts in EZ D.C.

So that tells you there's more capital goods to consume than realized, in Europe and the U.S. Woow, these globalists think we gots toooo much and need it redistributed. Equal globle, easy monetary kingdom

Harbanger's picture

"In the 2000s they studied the rise and fall of other great powers such as Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain—and the United States—and the lessons each held for China."

If it took them until the 2000's to understand human history, don't expect any grand solution.

Dollarmedes's picture

"A New Era" that will last about one year.

atomicwasted's picture

OMG, a country that simply defends its own interests?  Where can we get some of that here in the US?

The Diplomat blows goats.

Harbanger's picture

The interest is in bread and circus, stop this and it's war.

KickIce's picture

Well, the only to get favorable press is to support the Rothchilds, er US interests.  Had they supported Russia they would have been slammed for cowing to Russian imperialism and as you mentioned we just can't have a super power that minds its own interests.

zionhead's picture

The 'diplomat' our local friend AIPAC CIA Source of 'truth', only to be found on ZH, truth that only a Mushroom can believe in.


q99x2's picture

What's wrong with your fucking neck?

Harbanger's picture

Francis is stuck, vengeance is not his, he has no faith but he will enjoy his last days in the sun regardless.

harshudeshpande's picture

Chinese military budget figures are misleading, Chinese expenditure is at Chinese prices and US military pays US prices. You do the math

Dr. Sandi's picture

What the hell does math have to do with US military prices?

suteibu's picture

So much bullshit.  China's increase in defense spending was used by both Japan and the US to justify increased spending (including building a new base in Okinawa) and to spread fear among East and Southeast Asia.  Now it doesn't mean anything.

China is suddenly a good player (or, at the very least, a non-player) as the US shifts its focus on Putin.  So nobody get all excited if Russia and China start making resource and currency deals.  Obama has this.

deeply indebted's picture

"Obama has this." - You can't possibly be serious?

X_mloclaM's picture


Down a peg.

"Mission Accomplished"

globalize, equalize, distribute

regimentation, IMF income taxation without representation

Joenobody12's picture

I wish the US is more like China, minding its own business instead of poking its nose into everyone's business.  

holmes's picture

"Beijing has held back from criticizing Moscow, citing China’s long-standing policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states."

Looks like the dictator in DC could learn a thing or two from the dictators in China

Cashcollateral's picture

> implying that not interfering in other country's internal affairs is a bad thing

"In the end, the basic problem is very, very simple. Why don't these interventions work? Because we are foreigners. If things are going wrong in a country, it's not usually that we don't have enough foreigners. It's usually that we have too many." - Rory Stewart

IridiumRebel's picture

China has 4500 years of perspective. Merica has what? 300 or so? Smart power. They are smart to keep focus on their world and not expand besides economic and resource deals. China had "white monkeys" coming to trade since the 17th century or so. The "white monkeys" were laughed at until East India started playing pusher man with opium. They trust the west as far as they can bowl a fat American WalMart shopper. They'll sit back and watch as yet another "world power" fucks itself; America that is. This whole default stuff may throw them off, but I have a feeling they will work it out. We shall see. America's default still looms and will be the bonecrusher.

Thought Processor's picture





China was a sleeping dragon for a long time (The Mao era).  Now the dragon has woken up.


This little conflict brewing between the west and Russia is getting a lot of attention but if it goes where I think it goes and does what I think they want it to do it will reset the worlds financial engine.  

The goal is to unify everything under one umbrella 'overtly'.  China could potentially be a loser in this, if they allow it to happen.  I'm sure they will negotiate consessions, oh say maybe Taiwan, all of the South China Sea perhaps.   But their power will be forever limited by the reset which will inevitably work in the west's favor.  The power balance will be tilted from the beginning.  The game 'rigged' by design.

Same as it ever was.

Will China go quietly into the night?  Especially now that Russia is showing that annexing a former Province is acceptable.   Doubt it.  

China's weapons are financial.  If, and this is a big if, they can overcome their own internal corruption issues (which are on par with that of the west) in order to come to a consensus on direction as events unfold then they may be able to hold their own.  

The US is being taken down.  On purpose.  To make way for a world governing body.  All the capital and real power lies in private hands at this point.  It has been amassed in to the hands of the few at the top of the pyramid.  China will suffer economically as well in here along with the US though they are not saddled with the same debt problems.

The question is whether China will be subservient to this group.  We'll see.

This will get interesting.

IridiumRebel's picture

I see a reset favoring the East. They will not be subservient. China is patient and if the dragon must slumber a little longer to await the others inevitable undoing, China will wait. It knows that it's just a matter of time.