Sample Economics Paper on Foreign Policy in China


The foreign policy in the People’s Republic of China is a clear guidance of how it interacts with other nations. This policy is highly influential to the rest of the world given that China is emerging as a superpower due to the growth in its economy and technology. Officially, China states that it   “unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. The fundamental goals of this policy are to preserve China’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, create a favorable international environment for China’s reform, opening up, and modernization construction, maintain world peace and propel common development.” (Richardson 28) China is likely to dominate the world and accept the Western-shaped international system due to its aggressive nature but Roy says that this rise will reduce the net security for most of the countries in the world (262). This policy is likely to be influenced by the fact that China is emerging as a great superpower and the cultural history of previous dominance with a desire to take back the republic to its position of regional hegemony (Roy 39).

The foreign policy has therefore played a role in the participation of China in various activities and organizations such as the U.N. The foreign policy of China is derived from the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence enumerated in 1954 when the communist government of China was trying to appeal to the Asian countries that were non-communists (Richardson 29). These principles include peaceful co-existence, mutual benefit and equality, territorial integrity and mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and mutual non-aggression. They have continued to use these principles to safeguard their sovereignty and prevent interference from superpowers such as the U.S. (Beardson 336).

Similar to other nations, the foreign policy of China is under the foreign affairs ministry but it is under a Foreign Affairs Leading Group which is responsible for policy making decisions. However, the foreign policy of the republic is distinct from most of the Western states because it has a body of strategic thoughts on Chinese international relations.

National Security Interest

A national security law was first enacted in the people’s republic of china in the year 1993 and was later on, in 2014, replaced by the Counterespionage law which is broader (Pye and Fishman 154). This law authorizes the government to safeguard the assets of China as well as the activities within its territories. It also outlines the response to threats against its physical space, cyberspace, Polar Regions and the deep sea. The law also provides for an establishment of a crisis management leadership system in the national security. In reference to this law, the armed force has been made more contemporary, revolutionary and regular in the defense of national security. In this regard, the republic is also a claimant of various territories along its borders and maritime peripheries such as Spratly islands, South China Sea, and Taiwan. To undermine the influence of historical superpowers such as the U.S, especially on National Security interests, government ties between China and Russia have improved after the two presidents signed an agreement of Cooperation and friendship in the year 2001 (Richardson 64). As a result, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was formed by the two countries together with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to promote the stability of the region and cooperation to fight terrorism.

Approach to National objectives and other issues.

The officials of the Chinese government insist that all disputes should be resolved through peaceful negotiations. In reference to this, China has often refrained or abstained from voting at the United Nations on proposals to sanction or intervene to end terrorism, civil wars, or reversing invasions. Due to its veto power in the council, abstinence from voting is the only way to allow interventions go on without contradicting their principle of non-intervention (Beardson 214). For instance, when the council proposed a declaration of the Crimea referendum to join Russia and leave Ukraine illegitimate, China abstained from voting while Russia exercised its veto power. The decision to abstain was seen by the Western diplomats as objective and fair considering that China usually votes with Russia on various issues (Richardson 44).  Ambassador Liu Jieyi from China said that if the proposal would have been passed, it would have led to confrontations and more complications. He said that China would continue mediating and promoting dialogue to politically solve the issue amicably and constructively. China also proposed an International Coordination Procedure to come up with a political resolution and called on parties to avoid escalating the issues.

The national security interest in China has also been reflected in its approach to various issues regarding the neighboring states. In the year 2004, the president of China at a diplomatic work National meeting reiterated the republic’s commitment to upholding an independent policy to promote peace and development. He stressed the importance of an international environment, especially its neighboring states, which is stable and peaceful with mutual benefits for a robust economic growth for all. Regarding this, the spokesman for the foreign ministry outlined the diplomatic philosophy of China that consists of eight plans as follows:

  • China would not seek dominance as it is still a developing country with few resources. And even if it grows to a developed country, it would not fight to be dominant.
  • China would not practice politics of power and will uphold the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Its ideologies would not be imposed on other countries.
  • China calls for equal treatment of countries despite their size or economy and mutual respect among all states. International affairs should be resolved through a consultation with all countries participating equally
  • China would make a decision on any international affair based on the matter at hand with no double standards. This is based on the premise of doing unto others what they would like to be done on them.
  • China believes that all countries should relate with others on the basis of the UN charter that governs international relations and does not support unilateral politics. It would respect the authority of the U.N and would not make rules against the charter and international relations guidelines.
  • In resolving of international disputes, China advocates consultation and negotiation in a peaceful manner. It does not advocate the use of force or threats in solving these disputes and maintains aa national military that is reasonable for defending its territory and sovereignty which does not expand or invade other territories.
  • China does not support terrorism and the propagation of mass destruction weapons. It is a committed signatory of the international community and abides by international policies faithfully.
  • China appreciates and respects the civilization diversity in various countries. It advocates for cultural exchanges, learning from others, and complementing others with own strengths. China does not support the confrontations and clashes due to cultural or religious differences and does not associate any particular group with terrorism activities.

(Chan 69)

Disputes over Senkaku/Diaoyu islands

These are a group of islands that are not inhabited found in Japan and China that have been under the control of Japan since the year 1895 apart from the period from 1945-1972 in which they were administered by the U.S as part of Ryukyu Islands (Roy 231). In addition to the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan also lays a claim on the group of islands while Japan maintains that the archipelago is ‘terra nullius’ to mean that it belongs to no one. Although the U.S has not officially stated its position on the islands claims, it is seen to have largely contributed to the dispute and as the only one capable of unlocking it (Roy 236). After Japan was defeated in the Second World War, an agreement between Tokyo and its allies was made in Francisco which seemed to touch on Senkaku although not in a specific manner. The treaty stated that “Japan would concur in any proposal of the United States to the United Nations to place under its trusteeship system, with the United States as the sole administering authority.” (Pye and Fishman 154) The People’s Republic of China as well as Taiwan did not take part in the conference and were not parties to the treaties. China insists on the ownership of these islands and refers to its agreement with the U.S in Cairo that stated that all the islands in the Pacific that had been seized from China by Japan from the First World War would be returned.

Response of Rival Countries

 The U.S has openly sided with Japan regarding the issue of these islands and President Obama actually declared that the U.S would help Japan in the case of a conflict with China over the islands. Recently, the spokesman of the foreign ministry in China warned the so-called United States- Japan alliance on impinging the territorial rights of China and ascertained the ‘indisputable sovereignty’ of China. He urged the United States to respect the facts, remain impartial on territorial and sovereignty issues, to maintain a responsible attitude and to promote regional peace and stability through speeches and actions.

Japan, on the other hand, has also opposed the People’s Republic of China in various foreign policies besides the disputed islands. At some point, Japan was the largest aid donor of China but the disputes over the ownership of Senkaku/diaoyu islands has led to diplomatic confrontations between the two countries. This is especially, after provocation by the Chinese fishing trawler that hit two coast guard ships belonging to Japan in the year 2010. Later on, in 2012, the islands were purchased by the government of Japan which has raised the danger of military involvement. According to a survey, about seventy-three percent of Japanese citizens view the rising influence of China negatively which further fuels the existing animosity between the two nations. To offset the rise of China and its foreign policy, Japan has also diversified its partnerships by engaging in agreements with countries such as Australia and India in addition to the U.S. Such actions evidently show how Japan is worried of the rise of China and its efforts to offset its influence.

Impact of Rising China on Foreign Policy

The robust growth and rise of the People’s Republic of China as a superpower has attracted a lot of debate because it has greatly changed the relations with the other countries. The rise has been viewed as a recipe for conflicts and a cause of anxiety. This growth is likely to challenge the dominance of the U.S and completely change their position in the international arena in reference to Ni (236). The balance of power in Asia where Japan has been the main superpower is also being affected. From various events, it is clear that China is treading carefully in its quest for a hegemonic position as it seeks more authority to gain a powerful position internationally. According to Roy, China as an emerging superpower is providing an alternative to the Western democratic liberalism which is currently in practice. This is because China advocates illiberal capitalism, governance strategies of free markets but guided policies, and illiberal sovereignty in which it is against violation of national territories in the name of interventions.

With the increased growth, China has improved its profile in the international arena and has even attained a permanent membership position in the UN Security Council. For that role, it has grown to be a responsible regional leader and is playing a big role in promoting world economic stability by being more constructive in its approach to international issues. On international issues that China does not agree with the other permanent members of the U.N, China has preferred abstinence from voting rather than the use of its veto power to frustrate major decisions supported by the majority (Pye and Fishman). The veto powers that China possesses have affected neighboring countries such as Bangladesh in which it rejected admission of this country into the U.N as it considered it as part of Pakistan. It is evident that China is transforming its international image of an aggressive and hostile country against the international community to a key player in resolving major global crisis (Beardson 216). For instance, China played a major role in solving the global financial crisis of 2008 in which the government availed 585 billion U.S dollars to boost the declining world economy and became seriously committed to collaborating with the U.S, a long-time rival, to provide a long lasting solution to the crisis.

The rise of China, in my view, has a positive outcome because it will enhance a balance of global power and as well reduce the dominance of the United States and other Western superpowers. It offers an alternative to the model of the U.S modernization that thrives on liberal democracy by incorporating capitalism in a socialist community. Even as the economy of China grows massively, it has continued to show a responsibility to the international community by its continued cooperation with the major international organizations. As seen above, China respects and upholds the interests of the United Nations Charter and has not violated them at any time. From its policies on foreign interactions, China ascertains its commitment to non-intervention and equal treatment of countries despite their size or the economy in contrast with the U.S and the other current superpowers. As China grows to an economic giant, it is likely to change the level of interaction between the Western countries and the Developing countries that has been marred by claims of interference in the affairs of other states, especially the developing countries, in the name of providing aid and promoting good governance. The rise of China will thus have a positive outcome of improving the sovereignty of all nations.

In conclusion, the foreign policy of China is worth emulation by other world superpowers. This would go a long way in promoting world peace and stability. The principle of non-intervention and the equal treatment of all countries, particularly, encourages the independence of nations and a peaceful co-existence.



Works Cited

Beardson, Timothy. Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future. Yale University Press, 2013.

Chan, Steve. China, The US and Power-Transition Theory. London: Routledge, 2008: 62-74. Print.

Ni, Feng. China – America Relations. Reading: Paths International, 2012. Print.

Pye, Lucian W. and Ted C. Fishman. “China, Inc.: How The Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and The World”. Foreign Affairs 84.6 (2005): 154. Web.

Richardson, Sophie. China, Cambodia, And The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Print.

Roy, Denny. Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security. Columbia University Press, 2013.