China’s Evolving Approach to Foreign Policy and Development: The Case of Sudan
Thoma, Geoffrey M.
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Thoma, Geoffrey M.
This thesis examines China’s changing policy of non-intervention in Africa, and reveals a degree of responsiveness to Western criticism and pressure. In order to demonstrate this, I first contrast key principles guiding Western foreign policy (outlined by the Washington Consensus) against those guiding Chinese foreign policy (outlined by the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence). I will demonstrate how Chinese foreign policy principles, which respect national sovereignty and mutual non-interference in internal affairs, have challenged Western domination of development aid, foreign investment and trade to Africa. Western development assistance is tied to economic and political conditionality that developing countries are required to adopt in order to receive aid; Chinese aid contains no such conditionality because of their pledge of non-interference. Ultimately, this spurred China's rapid installment and strengthening of Chinese-African partnerships throughout the continent during the past several decades, stirring up both debate and anxiety in the West. Although China's value of national sovereignty and non-interference is critical to their success in attracting and solidifying partnerships with African governments seeking an alternative to their troubled history with Western development assistance, these values have also garnered Western criticism, namely in respect to issues of peace and conflict where China does business. Under the principle of non-interference, China has a historic record of withholding its involvement in conflict mediation and resolution where relevant in its African engagements - such as in Darfur. But over the past decade, the Chinese government has gradually but noticeably adjusted its hard stance on non-interference, demonstrating their responsiveness to this particular criticism of not being a responsible stakeholder in its African partnerships. I illustrate the extent of this adjustment and identify the key factors influencing it by using Sudan and South Sudan as case studies. The former highlights China's tight adherence to non-intervention during the Darfur crisis, yet also marks their initial shift on this foreign policy principle. Since 2013, South Sudan, which continues to experience civil conflict, sees an active and engaged China in multilateral conflict resolution efforts, and noticeably contrasts with their former non-interventionist stance towards conflict in Sudan.