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Beijings relations with Africa and Latin America: seeking truth from facts


Beijing's relations with Africa and Latin America: seeking truth from facts ... China's follows a reactive policy towards Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Beijings relations with Africa and Latin America: seeking truth from facts

Beijings relations with Africa and Latin
America seeking truth from facts
  • Issues in Chinese Foreign Policy
  • University of Turku 13-15 October 2008
  • Mario Esteban
  • Centre for East Asia Studies
  • Autonomous University of Madrid

Relevance of Africa and LAC in China's foreign
  • These areas are less important for China than the
    big power and her neighbours.

Evolution of the PRC policy toward Africa and
Latin America
  • Anti-imperialist and revolutionary policy
  • People's diplomacy much more efficient in Africa
    than in LAC.
  • Pragmatic approach (1972-2008)
  • Looking for diplomatic recognition (till 1989).
  • Breaking isolation (1989-93).
  • Looking for diplomatic recognition (1993-2000).
  • Intensifying economic relations (2000-2008).

Objectives of the PRC policy toward LAC and Africa
  • Diversifying their foreign relations as much as
    possible, reducing dependency from developed
  • Keeping good relations with providers of energy,
    foodstuff, and other key natural resources.
  • Reducing as much as possible the international
    visibility of Taiwan.
  • Forging alliances against developed countries in
    multilateral fora.
  • Balancing US hegemonism promotion of
  • Opening markets for Chinese enterprises.

Evolution of the PRC policy toward Africa and
Latin America
  • Present situation
  • Best moment in the history of China-Africa and
    China-LAC relations.
  • Economic relations are much more developed than
    political, military, and cultural relations.
    This imbalance is particularly acute with regard
    to LAC.

Political foundations of China Africa China
LA relations
  • Shared experiences as colonies and as
    developing countries.
  • No historical animosities between China and these
  • Ideological affinity does not explain trends in
    these relations, pragmatic approach.
  • Substantial cross-ideological and multi-partisan
    domestic support for the expansion of relations
    with China in the major Latin American countries.
    In Africa different attitudes between incumbent
    authorities and the opposition.

Extractive industries
  • Although China is one of the main buyer of LAC
    and African commodities, Chinese companies have a
    minor role in the exploitation of those natural
    resources, which is mainly in the hands of third
    country companies.
  • Chinese companies tend to sold to the best
  • Chinese extractive companies have a poor record
    on corporate responsibility, but not necessarily
    worse than companies from other countries.

  • China is resorting to African an Latin American
    commodities (energy, timber, food, and metals) to
    keep her pace of economic development.
  • Food security.
  • Energy security (African and LA oil comprise 30
    and 6 of China's total oil imports

  • Volume of China-Africa trade 73,3b. (2007). 32
    annual increase since 2000. China is Africa third
    commercial partner. Trade balance is increasingly
    positive for Africa.
  • Volume of China-LAC trade 102,6b. (2007). Over
    40 annual increase since 2000. China is LAC
    third commercial partner.
  • Although China's trade with this two regions has
    increased more than with other regions, only
    comprises 6 of total Chinese trade.

  • Controversies about
  • The quality of Chinese products.
  • Irregular competition.

Foreign Direct Investment
  • Chinese FDI abroad is increasing rapidly (50
    annually) but still far behind main international
  • Around 80 of Chinese FDI is made in world tax
    heavens therefore the final destination of
    Chinas FDI is basically unknown
  • Latin America and Africa concentrate 20
    (Caribbean tax heavens) and 3 of Chinese FDI
    stock respectively.
  • Main sectors extractive industries,
    infrastructures, business services (5,6 b. 20
    of Standard Bank), manufacturing, food

Development Assistance
  • There is no accurate data on the volume of
    Chinese development assistance, but we know for
  • Gained momentum since 1997 in the Caribbean
    (Bahamas, Saint Lucia) and since 2000 in Africa
  • Similar amount to the aid provided by the main
    Western donors in Africa.
  • Delivered in three ways grant aid, interest -
    free loans, and concessional loans.

Development Assistance
  • Rationale
  • Gaining diplomatic allies.
  • Having access to natural resources necessary to
    sustain Chinas economic development.
  • Promoting Chinese businesses (Go out).

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Development Assistance
  • Eight principles for China's aid to foreign
    countries (Zhou Enlai, 1964)
  • Mutual benefit in providing aid to other
  • Respect for the sovereignty of the recipient
    countries and no conditionality.
  • China provides economic aid in the form of
    interest-free or low-interest loans and extends
    the time limit for repayment as far as possible.
  • Chinese aid intends to promote self-reliance and
    independent economic development of the recipient
  • The Chinese government tries its best to help the
    recipient countries build projects which require
    less investment while yielding quicker results,
    so that the recipient governments may increase
    their income and accumulate capital.
  • The Chinese government provides the best-quality
    equipment and material of its own manufacture at
    international market prices. If the equipment and
    material provided by the Chinese government are
    not up to the agreed specifications and quality,
    the Chinese government undertakes to replace
  • In providing any technical assistance, the
    Chinese government will see to it that the
    personnel of the recipient country fully master
    such technique.
  • The experts dispatched by China to help in
    construction in the recipient countries will have
    the same standard of living as the experts of the
    recipient country.

Development Assistance
  • Why Chinese cooperation is so competitive
  • Lack of conditionality support for the
    incumbent authorities in the domestic and the
    international arena.
  • Deliver results quickly and effectively.
  • Comprehensive nature (health, education,
    economic, military, etc.)

Development Assistance
  • Cons of Chinese cooperation
  • Negative impact on good governance and democracy.
  • Scarce business, skills transfer and
    technological transfer opportunities for the
    local labour and companies.
  • Developing the recipient country is not its main
    goal--) unequal impact on the welfare of the
    local population.
  • Chinese irregular migration.

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Military relations
  • China-LAC military relations are modest, mainly
    reciprocal visits of military authorities and
    basic military training, and will remain modest
    with the exceptions of Brazil and Venezuela.
  • China Africa military relations are much more
    significant and involve sustantive arms
  • Military relations are not a priority for China
    effect of closer economic and political
    relations. China uses military relations for
    gaining leverage over these countries,
    particularly in Africa.
  • Growing commitment to peace in both regions
    through participation in UN peacekeeping
    operations Haiti eight more missions in
  • Indirect benefits from high-technology ventures
    with Brazil and Argentina (satellite industry,
    nuclear cooperation).

How much political muscle does China have in LAC?
  • Chinas political influence in the region should
    not be exaggerated
  • Almost limited to South America the Taiwanese
  • Latin American voting pattern in the UN.
  • Four strategic partnerships.
  • Chinas growing presence in LAC regional fora.

Impediments for closer China-LA political
  • Apart from Brazil, most of the Latin-American
    countries lack a coherent China strategy.
  • US influence in LAC.
  • Discrepancies in political values.
  • Geographical distance, plus cultural differences
    and language barriers entail lack of
    understanding between peoples in China and Latin
  • 12 LAC countries maintain formal diplomatic ties
    with the ROC.

Will China promote the expansion of populism and
anti-globalization forces?
  • Vested Chinese interest in stable,
    export-oriented Latin American governments.
  • Concern about the rise of indigenous groups in
    Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
  • Support for the emergence of moderate governments
    in countries such as Venezuela, Colombia,
    Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, willing to resolve its
    territorial disputes.
  • Chinas follows a reactive policy towards
    Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia. Military relations
    with these three countries are underdeveloped.
  • China has not questioned the electoral victory of
    Felipe Calderón.

How much political muscle does China have in
  • China's political weigh in Africa is much bigger
    than in LAC
  • Existence of effective bilateral organizations
    such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation .
  • Voting pattern in international organizations.
  • African authoritarian authorities looking from
    external patronage.

Impediments for closer China-Africa political
  • Cultural differences and language barriers.
  • Partisan involvement in the domestic politics of
    many African countries.

Chinese impact on African governance
  • Pragmatic, not normative concern on corruption.
  • Disruptive factor on the state-society balance.

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  • Although the importance of Africa and LAC is
    marginal for China in comparison with other
    regions, it is particularly relevant in some key
  • Source of commodities (energy and food security).
  • Political competition with Taiwan.
  • Allies in the international community.
  • LAC is more important for China in the economic
    arena, whereas Africa is more important for
    energy security and political support.
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