Chinese Foreign Policy in a Global Perspective: A Responsible Reformer "Striving For Achievement"

  • Mikael Weissmann

Abstract

During the last four decades, China has moved from being an isolated country separated from the international community to having become one of the world’s major powers. It is vital to understand what is guiding Chinese foreign policy, why this is so, and not least what kind of power China is and will be in the future. This article analyses the vital elements and thinking that guides Chinese foreign policy, its priorities and decision making process. It is found that China's foreign policy is embedded in domestic issues. The foremost foreign policy objective is domestic political stability, which in turn is a necessity for the survival of one-party rule. Both are dependent on a combination of two key factors: continuing domestic economic growth and nationalism. The foreign policy is also closely linked to the Chinese self-perception, both its self-superiority/self-inferiority dualism and its multitude of confusing (overlapping) identities about what China is and should be. A key turning year is 2008 when the "global" financial crisis severely affected the United States and Europe at a time of Chinese economic success, which gave China confidence to pursue a more active and aggressive/assertive stance on the international stage. It is concluded that China under Xi Jinping will not be a status que power accepting the world as it is, but nor are we to expect China to become a revisionist power aiming to remodel the global order. China is what can best be described as a responsible reformer "striving for achievements".
Published
29-05-2015
Section
Research Article