Like most other nations, China's foreign policy is carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is subordinate to the Foreign Affairs Leading Group, which decides on policy-making.
Unlike most other nations, much of Chinese foreign policy is formulated in think tanks sponsored and supervised by, but formally outside of the government. One distinctive aspect of Sino-American relations is that much of the foreign policy discussion takes place between interlocutors who form the think tanks. Because these discussions are unofficial, they are generally more free and less restricted than discussions between government officials. China is also distinctive for having a separate body of Chinese strategic thought and theory of international relations which is distinct from Western theory.
By the mid 19th century, Chinese stability had come under increasing threat from both domestic and international sources. Social unrest and serious revolts became more common while the regular army had decayed into an ineffective force. Chinese leaders increasingly feared the impact of Western ideas. After 1724 Christian propaganda was prohibited, and after 1757 international trade was confined to the port of Canton under the strictly limited Canton System. European commercial interests sought to end the trading barriers, but China fended off repeated efforts by Britain to regularize the trading system. Increasing sales of Indian opium to China by British traders led to the First Opium War (1839–1842). Military technology like steamboats and Congreve rockets forced China to open trade with the West on Western terms.
A series of "unequal treaties", including the Treaty of Nanking (1842), the treaties of Tianjin (1858), and the Beijing Conventions (1860), forced China to open new treaty ports, including Canton (Guangzhou), Amoy (Xiamen), and Shanghai. The treaties also allowed the British to set up Hong Kong as a colony and established international settlements in the treaty ports under the control of foreigners. They required China to accept permanent diplomats at Peking, provided for the free movement for foreign ships in Chinese rivers, imposed European regulation of Chinese tariffs, and opened the interior to Christian missionaries. Since the 1920s, the "unequal treaties" have been a centerpiece of Chinese grievances against the West.
For centuries China had claimed suzerain authority over numerous adjacent areas. The areas had internal autonomy but were theoretically under the protection of China in terms of foreign affairs. By the 19th century the relationships were nominal, and China exerted little or no actual control. The Western powers rejected the concept and one by one seized the suzerain areas. Japan took Korea and the Ryukyus; France took Vietnam; Britain took Upper Burma and Nepal; Russia took parts of Siberia. Only Tibet was left, and that was highly problematic since the Tibetans did not accept it. Each case represented yet another humiliation and demonstration of weakness.
A weakened China lost wars with Japan and gave up nominal control over the Ryukyu Islands in 1870 to Japan. After the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894 it lost Formosa to Japan. After the Sino-French War of 1884-1885, France took control of Vietnam, another tributary state. After Britain took over Burma, they maintained the sending of tribute to China, putting themselves in a lower status than in their previous relations. It was agreed in the Burmah convention in 1886, that China would recognise Britain's occupation of Upper Burmah while Britain continued the Burmese payment of tribute every ten years to Beijing.
Japan after 1860 modernized its military after Western models and was far stronger than China. The war, fought in 1894 and 1895, was fought to resolve the issue of control over Korea, which was then a suzerain of China and under the rule of the old-fashioned Joseon Dynasty. A peasant rebellion led to a request by the Korean government for China to send in troops to stabilize the country. The Empire of Japan responded by sending its own force to Korea and installing a puppet government in Seoul. China objected and war ensued. It was a brief affair, with Japanese ground troops routing Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula and nearly destroying the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed between Japan and China, which ceded the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan to Japan. However, after the peace treaty, Russia, Germany, and France forced Japan to withdraw from Liaodong Peninsula. Soon after, Russia occupied the Liaodong Peninsula, built Port Arthur fortress, and based the Russian Pacific Fleet in the port. Germany occupied Jiaozhou Bay, built Tsingtao fortress, and based the German East Asia Squadron in this port.
The Boxer Rebellion (1897–1901) was a movement by the Righteous Harmony Society in China between 1897 and 1901 after a massive increase in imperialist activities and concession seizing by foreign powers. Due to the refusal of Chinese Generals and officials like Yuan Shikai, Zhang Zhidong and Li Hongzhang to help the Imperial court with their modernized armies, the Eight Nation Alliance eventually took Beijing.
Manchuria was a contested zone with Russia and Japan trying to take control away from China.
The Republican Revolution of 1912 overthrew the imperial court and brought an era of regional warlords. In terms of foreign policy the new government tried with limited success to renegotiate the unequal treaties. In 1931, Japan seized control of Manchuria.
The United States was a strong supporter of China after Japan invaded in 1937. Even the isolationists who opposed war in Europe supported a hard-line against Japan. The outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 saw aid flow into the Republic of China, led by Chiang Kai-shek. American public sympathy for the Chinese was aroused by reports from missionaries, novelists such as Pearl Buck, and Time Magazine of Japanese brutality in China, including reports surrounding the Nanking Massacre, also known as the 'Rape of Nanking'. By early 1941 the U.S. was preparing to send American planes flown by American pilots under American command, but wearing Chinese uniforms, to fight the Japanese invaders and even to bomb Japanese cities. The "Flying Tigers" under Claire Lee Chennault arrived just as the U.S. entered the war.
After the formal declaration of war in December 1941, the U.S. stepped up the flow of aid, but it had to be routed through India and over the Himalayan Mountains because Japan blocked the other routes. Chiang's beleaguered government was now headquartered in remote Chongqing. Madame Chiang Kaishek, who had been educated in the United States, addressed the US Congress and toured the country to rally support for China. Congress amended the Chinese Exclusion Act and Roosevelt moved to end the unequal treaties. However, the perception that Chiang's government, with his poorly equipped and ill-fed troops was unable to effectively fight the Japanese or that he preferred to focus more on defeating the Communists grew. China Hands such as Joseph Stilwell argued that it was in American interest to establish communication with the Communists to prepare for a land-based counteroffensive invasion of Japan. The Dixie Mission, which began in 1943, was the first official American contact with the Communists. Other Americans, led by Chennault, argued for air power. In 1944, Generalissimo Chiang acceded to Roosevelt's request that an American general take charge of all forces in the area, but demanded that Stilwell be recalled. General Albert Coady Wedemeyer replaced Stilwell, Patrick J. Hurley became ambassador, and Chinese-American relations became much smoother. The U.S. had included China in top-level diplomacy in the hope that large masses of Chinese troops would defeat Japan with minimal American casualties. When that hope was seen as illusory, and it was clear that B-29 bombers could not operate effectively from China, China became much less important to Washington, but it was promised a seat in the new UN Security Council, with a veto. In 1946 the U.S. sent in a high level team under General George Marshall to try to negotiate a solution to the emerging civil war, but it failed.)
Westad says the Communists won the Civil War in the late 1940s because Mao Zedong made fewer military mistakes than Chiang Kai-shek, and because in his search for a powerful centralized government, Chiang antagonized too many interest groups in China. Furthermore, his party was weakened in the war against Japanese. Meanwhile the Communists told different groups, such as peasants, exactly what they wanted to hear, and cloaked themselves in the cover of Chinese Nationalism.
Since its establishment in 1949, the People's Republic of China has worked vigorously to win international recognition and support for its position that it is the sole legitimate government of all China, including Hong Kong (Foreign relations of Hong Kong), Macau (Foreign relations of Macau), Taiwan (Foreign relations of Taiwan), the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and islands in the South China Sea.
Upon its establishment in 1949, the People's Republic of China was recognized by Eastern Bloc countries. Among the first Western countries to recognize China were Switzerland (on 17 January 1950) and Sweden (on 14 February 1950). The first Western country to establish diplomatic ties with China was Sweden (on 9 May 1950). Until the early 1970s, the Republic of China government in Taipei was recognized diplomatically by most world powers and held the seat in the UN Security Council, with a veto. After the Beijing government assumed the China seat in 1971 (and the ROC government was expelled), the great majority of nations have switched diplomatic relations from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China. Japan established diplomatic relations with the PRC in 1972, following the Joint Communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China, and the United States did so in 1979. The number of countries that have established diplomatic relations with Beijing has risen to 171, while 23 maintain diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (or Taiwan). (See also: Political status of Taiwan)
Both the PRC and ROC make it a prerequisite for diplomatic relations that a country does not recognize and conduct any official relations with the other party.
With Mao in overall control and making final decisions, Zhou Enlai handled foreign-policy and developed a strong reputation for his diplomatic and negotiating skills. Regardless of those skills, Zhou's bargaining position was undercut by the domestic turmoil initiated by Mao. The Great Leap Forward of 1958-60 was a failed effort to industrialize overnight; it devastated food production and led to millions of deaths from famine. Even more disruptive was the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, which decimated a generation of leadership. When China broke with Russia around 1960, the main cause was Mao’s insistence that Moscow had deviated from the true principles of communism. The result was that both Moscow and Beijing sponsored rival Communist parties around the world, which expended much of their energy fighting each other. China's focus especially was on the Third World as China portrayed itself as the legitimate leader of the global battle against imperialism and capitalism.
After its founding, the PRC's foreign policy initially focused on its solidarity with the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc nations, and other communist countries, sealed with, among other agreements, the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance signed in 1950 to oppose China's chief antagonists, the West and in particular the United States. The 1950–53 Korean War waged by China and its North Korea ally against the United States, South Korea, and United Nations (UN) forces has long been a reason for bitter feelings. After the conclusion of the Korean War, China sought to balance its identification as a member of the Soviet bloc by establishing friendly relations with Pakistan and other Third World countries, particularly in Southeast Asia.
China's entry into the Korean War was the first of many preemptive wars the PRC would wage in response to perceived threats or slights.
By the late 1950s, relations between China and the Soviet Union had become so divisive that in 1960, the Soviets unilaterally withdrew their advisers from China. The two then began to vie for allegiances among the developing world, for China saw itself as a natural champion through its role in the Non-Aligned Movement and its numerous bilateral and bi-party ties. In the 1960s, Beijing competed with Moscow for political influence among communist parties and in the developing world generally. In 1962, China had a brief war with India over a border dispute. By 1969, relations with Moscow were so tense that fighting erupted along their common border. Following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and clashes in 1969 on the Sino-Soviet border, Chinese competition with the Soviet Union increasingly reflected concern over China's own strategic position. China then lessened its anti-Western rhetoric and began developing formal diplomatic relations with West European nations.
Once the UN issue was resolved, relations with the United States began to thaw. In 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China. China backed away from support of North Vietnam in its war with the U.S.. In late 1978, China became concerned over Vietnam's efforts to establish open control over Laos and Cambodia. In response to the Soviet-backed Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China fought an inconclusive border war with Vietnam (February–March 1979).
Formal diplomatic relations were established with the U.S. in 1979, and the two nations have experienced more than a quarter century of varying degrees of amiable or wary relations over such contentious issues as Taiwan, balance of trade, intellectual property rights, nuclear proliferation, and human rights.
Chinese anxiety about Soviet strategic advances was heightened following the Soviet Union's December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Sharp differences between China and the Soviet Union persisted over Soviet support for Vietnam's continued occupation of Cambodia, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Soviet troops along the Sino-Soviet border and in Mongolia—the so-called "three obstacles" to improved Sino-Soviet relations.
In the 1970s and 1980s, China sought to create a secure regional and global environment for itself and foster good relations with countries that could aid its economic development. During the time of Mao, China was a closed country. After his death, authorities led by Deng Xiaoping began instigating reforms. In 1983, 74-year-old Li Xiannian became President of China and one of the longest serving politicians in the leadership of China. He visited many countries and thus began opening China to the world. In 1985, Li Xiannian was the first president of China to visit the United States. Li also visited North Korea. 1986 saw the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II in an official visit. To this end, China looked to the West for assistance with its modernization drive and for help in countering Soviet expansionism, which it characterized as the greatest threat to its national security and to world peace.
China maintained its consistent opposition to "superpower hegemonism," focusing almost exclusively on the expansionist actions of the Soviet Union and Soviet proxies such as Vietnam and Cuba, but it also placed growing emphasis on a foreign policy independent of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. While improving ties with the West, China continued to closely follow the political and economic positions of the Third World Non-Aligned Movement, although China was not a formal member.
In the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, many countries reduced their diplomatic contacts with China as well as their economic assistance programs. In response, China worked vigorously to expand its relations with foreign countries, and by late 1990, had reestablished normal relations with almost all nations. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in late 1991, China also opened diplomatic relations with the republics of the former Soviet Union.
In recent years, China's leaders have been regular travelers to all parts of the globe, and it has sought a higher profile in the UN through its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral organizations.
Closer to home, China has made efforts to reduce tensions in Asia; its relations with its Asian neighbors have become stable during the last decades of the 20th century. It has contributed to stability on the Korean Peninsula, cultivated a more cooperative relationship with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum. In 1997, the ASEAN member nations and China, South Korea and Japan agreed to hold yearly talks to further strengthen regional cooperation, the ASEAN Plus Three meetings. In 2005, the "ASEAN Plus Three" countries together with India, Australia and New Zealand held the inaugural East Asia Summit (EAS). Relations have improved with Vietnam since a border war was fought with the one-time close ally in 1979. A territorial dispute with its Southeast Asian neighbors over islands in the South China Sea remains unresolved, as does another dispute in the East China Sea with Japan. These conflicts have had a negative impact on China's reputation in many parts of the world.
China has improved ties with Russia. President Putin and President Jiang, in large part to serve as a counterbalance to the United States, signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in July 2001. The two also joined with the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to found the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in June 2001. The SCO is designed to promote regional stability and cooperate to combat terrorism in the region.
Relations with India have also improved considerably. After years of competition, general distrust between the two (mostly over China's close relationship with Pakistan and India's with the former Soviet Union) and a border war, relations in the 21st century between the world's two most populous states have never been more harmonious, as they have started to collaborate in several economic and strategic areas. Both countries have doubled their economic trade in the past few years, and China became India's largest trading partner in 2010. The two countries are planning to host joint naval exercises. In 2003, China and India held negotiations for the first time since the Sino-Indian War of 1962 on a major border dispute: however, the dispute over Aksai Chin (formerly a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) and South Tibet (China) or Arunachal Pradesh (India) is not settled and plagues Sino-Indian relations. While New Delhi has raised objections to Chinese military-aid to arch-rival Pakistan and neighbouring Bangladesh, Beijing similarly objects to India's growing military collaboration with Japan, Australia and the United States.
China has border and maritime disputes, including with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin and with Japan. Beijing has resolved many of these disputes. Notably on July 21, 2008, Russia finally resolved the last remaining border dispute along the 4300 km border between the two countries by ceding a small amount of territory to China. China also reached a 2000 agreement with Vietnam to resolve some differences over their maritime borders, though disagreements remain over some islands in the South China Sea.
During the late 1990s and early 21st century, Chinese foreign policy appeared to be focused on improving relations with Russia and Europe to counterbalance the United States. This strategy was based on the premise that the United States was a hyperpower whose influence could be checked through alliances with other powers, such as Russia or the European Union. This assessment of United States power was reconsidered after the United States intervention in Kosovo, and as the 20th century drew to a close, the discussion among think tanks in China involved how to reorient Chinese foreign policy in a unipolar world. This discussion also occurred in the context of China's new security concept, which argued that the post–Cold War era required nations to move away from thinking in terms of alliances and power blocs and toward thinking in terms of economic and diplomatic cooperation.
China had long been a close ally of North Korea but also found a valuable trading partner in South Korea and eventually took a role in the early 2000s as a proponent of "six-party talks" (North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, the United States, and China) to resolve tensions on the Korean Peninsula. China was instrumental at brokering talks with North Korea over its nuclear program, and in 2003, there was a concerted effort by China to improve relations with the ASEAN countries and form a common East Asian market. These foreign policy efforts have been part of a general foreign policy initiative known as China's peaceful rise. On November 15, 2005, Hu Jintao visited Seoul and spoke of the importance of both countries' contributions for regional peace and cooperation in economic development.
However, China's opposition to the bid of two of its important neighbors—India and Japan—to become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council has proved to be an irritant in their respective relationships. Japan, with its large economic and cultural influences in Asia, is seen by China as its most formidable opponent and partner in regional diplomacy. The two sides established diplomatic relations in 1972, and Japanese investment in China was important in the early years of China's economic reforms and ever since.
At a national meeting on diplomatic work in August 2004, China's President Hu Jintao reiterated that China will continue its "independent foreign policy of peaceful development," stressing the need for a peaceful and stable international environment, especially among China's neighbors, that will foster "mutually beneficial cooperation" and "common development." This policy line has varied little in intent since the People's Republic was established in 1949, but the rhetoric has varied in its stridency to reflect periods of domestic political upheaval.
In 2005, there was talk of the European Union lifting its arms embargo imposed in 1989, however the United States has objected to this.
In 2007, Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang made a statement about the eight-point diplomatic philosophy of China:
- China will not seek hegemony. China is still a developing country and has no resources to seek hegemony. Even if China becomes a developed country, it will not seek hegemony.
- China will not play power politics and will not interfere with other countries' internal affairs. China will not impose its own ideology on other countries.
- China maintains all countries, big or small, should be treated equally and respect each other. All affairs should be consulted and resolved by all countries on the basis of equal participation. No country should bully others on the basis of strength.
- China will make judgment on each case in international affairs, each matter on the merit of the matter itself and it will not have double standards. China will not have two policies: one for itself and one for others. China believes that it cannot do unto others what they do not wish others do unto them.
- China advocates that all countries handle their relations on the basis of the United Nations Charter and norms governing international relations. China advocates stepping up international cooperation and is against unilateral politics. China should not undermine the dignity and the authority of the U.N. China should not impose and set its own wishes above the U.N. Charter, international law and norms.
- China advocates peaceful negotiation and consultation so as to resolve its international disputes. China does not resort to force, or threat of force, in resolving international disputes. China maintains a reasonable national military buildup to defend its own sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is not made to expand, nor does it seek invasion or aggression.
- China is firmly opposed to terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. China is a responsible member of the international community, and as for international treaties, China abides by all them in a faithful way. China never plays by a double standard, selecting and discarding treaties it does not need.
- China respects the diversity of the civilization and the whole world. China advocates different cultures make exchanges, learn from each other, and complement one another with their own strengths. China is opposed to clashes and confrontations between civilizations, and China does not link any particular ethnic group or religion with terrorism.
In 2011, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi outlined plans for an "integrated approach" that would serve China's economic development.
In 2016, during the 6th Plenum, Xi Jinping has presented efforts for greater transparency in the decision-making process in local governance, which also represent his effort in establishing a positive image of China’s Communist Party overseas.
China has 14 neighbouring nations by land, and 7 neighbours by sea (8 if counting Taiwan). Only Russia has as many neighbouring nations (14 by land, 12 by sea). Many disputes have arisen and resolved and many yet are undetermined. Recently these issues have been politicized by United States as part of their China containment policy and East Asian foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration.
China recognizes all 193 UN member states, the Holy See and Palestine as sovereign states. However, it does not have diplomatic relations with 21 UN member states, nor with the Holy See. 21 of these sovereign entities recognize the Republic of China as the sole legitimate Chinese state, while Bhutan has diplomatic relations with neither the PRC nor the ROC.
Following countries do not recognize the People's Republic of China as China. Instead, these countries recognize the Republic of China as China.
Territorial disputes with other countries include:The Republic of China on Taiwan officially claims to be the legitimate government of "China", with the de jure administration of the whole mainland China and Outer Mongolia, controlled by the People's Republic of China and Mongolia. Meanwhile, the PRC claims the de jure administration of Taiwan Province, as well as mainland-nearby islands of Kinmen and Matsu Islands, currently controlled by the ROC.
10 features in the Yalu (Korean: Amnok) river are in dispute with North Korea.
Border dispute with India; India claims control of Aksai Chin, which China seized during the Sino-Indian War of 1962, while China claims most of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (called South Tibet by China).
Portions of the boundary with Bhutan
China, as well as Taiwan, claims the administration of Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai), currently held by Japan.
Paracel Islands administered and occupied by the People's Republic, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
Involved in a dispute with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal.
Involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei.
Exclusive economic zone disputes with North Korea in the Yellow Sea; South Korea in the Yellow and East China Seas; Japan in the East China Sea (ja:東シナ海ガス田問題, zh:东海油气田问题); Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia in the South China Sea.
Territorial disputes listed above as between the PRC and ROC ("Taiwan") stems from the question of which government is the legitimate government of China. The Republic of China which views itself as the successor state of the Qing Dynasty did not renounce any territory which fell under de facto control of other states (i.e. Mongolia), but has largely been a non-participant in enforcing these claims. The People's Republic of China which inherited the claims has settled a number of such disputes with Mongolia and Russia via bilateral treaties, not recognized by the Republic of China. In this respect, the territorial disputes between the PRC and neighboring countries may be considered a subset of those between the ROC and said countries.
Bloomberg News reports that these disputes are undermining China's attempts to charm its neighbors away from American influence. Due to a lack of natural allies or friends, China has come to rely more on military power to resolve these disputes. China has made double digit percentage increases in its military budget for many years, though as a percentage of its fast growing GDP falling from 1.4% in 2006 to 1.3% in 2011. This may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of China causing its own encirclement by nations that are ever more firmly aligned against an increasingly well armed and dominant China. As of 2013 this has caused even the Philippines to invite back onto their soil not just the Americans, but also the Japanese.
In May 2015, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter warned China to halt its rapid island-building in the South China Sea.
Refugees by country of origin are: 300,897 (from Vietnam), estimated 30,000-50,000 (from North Korea).
China is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Women, men, and children are trafficked for purposes of sexual slavery and forced labor; the majority of trafficking in China is internal, but there is also international trafficking of Chinese citizens; women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment into commercial sexual exploitation in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan; Chinese men and women are smuggled to countries throughout the world at enormous personal expense and then forced into commercial sexual exploitation or exploitative labor to repay debts to traffickers; women and children are trafficked into China from Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam for forced labor, marriage, and sexual slavery; most North Koreans enter northeastern China voluntarily, but others reportedly are trafficked into China from North Korea; domestic trafficking remains the most significant problem in China, with an estimated minimum of 10,000–20,000 victims trafficked each year; the actual number of victims could be much greater; some experts believe that the serious and prolonged imbalance in the male-female birth ratio may now be contributing to Chinese and foreign girls and women being trafficked as potential brides.
United States Department of State Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - "China failed to show evidence of increasing efforts to address transnational trafficking; while the government provides reasonable protection to internal victims of trafficking, protection for Chinese and foreign victims of transnational trafficking remain inadequate."
Chinese drug laws are very harsh, and the death sentence for traffickers is not unusual. Many foreigners have been sentenced to death in China for drug trafficking.
China is a major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia. There is a growing domestic drug abuse problem and it is a source country for chemical precursors, despite new regulations on its large chemical industry.
Membership in International Organizations:
China holds a permanent seat, which affords it veto power, on the Security Council of the United Nations (UN). Prior to 1971, the Republic of China on Taiwan held China's UN seat, but, as of that date, the People's Republic of China successfully lobbied for Taiwan's removal from the UN and took control of the seat, supported by Soviet Union as well as communist states, United Kingdom, France, and other Western European states, and the Third World countries like India.
Membership in UN system organizations
China has signed numerous international conventions and treaties.
Treaties signed on behalf of China before 1949 are applicable only to the Republic of China on Taiwan. Conventions signed by Beijing include: Assistance in Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency Convention; Biological Weapons Convention; Chemical Weapons Convention; Conventional Weapons Convention; Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident; Inhumane Weapons Convention; Nuclear Dumping Convention (London Convention); Nuclear Safety Convention; Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; Rights of the Child and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography Convention (signed Optional Protocol); and Status of Refugees Convention (and the 1967 Protocol).
Treaties include the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (signed but not ratified); Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous, or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (Geneva Protocol); Treaty on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Pelindaba, signed protocols 1 and 2); Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; Treaty on Outer Space; Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (signed Protocol 2); Treaty on Seabed Arms Control; and Treaty on the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone (Treaty of Rarotonga, signed and ratified protocols 2 and 3).
China also is a party to the following international environmental conventions: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, and Whaling.
Pew Research Center indicated that (as of 2014) 21 surveyed countries have a positive view (50% or above) of China. With the top ten most positive countries being Pakistan (78%), Tanzania (77%), Bangladesh (77%), Malaysia (74%), Kenya (74%), Thailand (72%), Senegal (71%), Nigeria (70%), Venezuela (67%), and Indonesia (66%). While ten surveyed countries have the most negative view (Below 50%) of China. With the countries being Japan (7%), Vietnam (16%), Turkey (21%), Italy (26%), Germany (28%), India (31%), Poland (32%), Jordan (35%), United States (35%), and Colombia (38%). Chinese's own view of China was viewed at 96%.
With China's growing influence around the world, Beijing has now set its efforts on Africa. China's focus in Africa is not a recent occurrence. In the 1960s and 1970s, Beijing's interest centered on building ideological solidarity. Following the Cold War, Chinese interests evolved into more pragmatic pursuits such as trade, investment, and energy. Sino-African trade quadrupled between 2000 and 2006. China is Africa's third largest commercial partner after the US and France, and second largest exporter to Africa after France. It is notably ahead of former colonial power Britain in both categories. Some western nations' hesitance to become closely involved with countries they believe to be poor in the human rights field, such as Sudan, have allowed China an opportunity for economic cooperation.
The establishment of modern Sino-African relations dates back to the late 1950s when China signed the first official bilateral trade agreement with Algeria, Egypt, Guinea, Somalia, Morocco and Sudan. Zhou Enlai made a ten-country tour to Africa between December 1963 and January 1964. Relations at that time were often reflective of Chinese foreign policy in general: China "began to cultivate ties and offer[...] economic, technical and military support to African countries and liberation movements in an effort to encourage wars of national liberation and revolution as part of an international united front against both superpower".
Early modern bilateral relations were mainly affected by the Cold War and the ideology of communism. China originally had close ties with the anti-apartheid and liberation movement, African National Congress (ANC), in South Africa, but as China's relations with the Soviet Union worsened and the ANC moved closer to the Soviet Union, China shifted away from the ANC towards the Pan-Africanist Congress. China adopted several principles, among them supporting the independence of African countries while investing in infrastructure projects. The Somali Democratic Republic established good relations with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War era. When Somalia sought to create a Greater Somalia, it declared war on Ethiopia, with the aid of the Soviet Union, Somalia took Ogaden in three months, but the Soviet Union shifted its support from Somalia to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia retook the Ogaden region. This angered Siad Barre, and expelled all Soviets advisors and citizens from Somalia, but Somalia maintained good relations with China, which segrated with the traditional Russian Communism. During the Cold War, a few smaller nations also entered in alliances with China, such as Burundi under Michel Micombero.
The political status of Taiwan has been a key political issue for the People's Republic of China (PRC). In 1971, the support of African nations was crucial in the PRC joining the United Nations (UN), taking over the seat of the ROC on Taiwan. However, while many African countries such as Algeria, Egypt and Zambia have stressed their support to the PRC's one-China policy, Swaziland and Burkina Faso are maintaining relations with Taipei. For the quest of a permanent UN Security Council seat for Africa, Nigeria, the most populous African country, relies on Chinese support while Egypt looks to U.S. backing.
Since 1997, around 40 African heads of state have visited China. The ministerial meeting, Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Beijing in October 2000 was the first collective dialogue between China and African nations.
In 1980, the total Sino-African trade volume was US$1 billion. By 1999, it had reached US$6.5 billion. By 2005, the total Sino-African trade had reached US$39.7 billion before it jumped to US$55 billion in 2006, making China the second largest trading partner of Africa after the United States, which had trade worth US$91 billion with African nations. China also passed the traditional African economic partner and former colonial power France, which had trade worth US$47 billion. In 2010, trade between Africa and China was worth US$114 billion and in 2011, US$166.3 billion. In the first 10 months of 2012 it was US$163.9 billion.
There are an estimated 800 Chinese corporations doing business in Africa, most of which are private companies investing in the infrastructure, energy and banking sectors. Unconditional and low-rate credit lines (rates at 1.5% over 15 years to 20 years) have taken the place of the more restricted and conditional Western loans. Since 2000, more than US$10 thousand million in debt owed by African nations to China has been canceled. Even though Africa has gained from commodity exports to China, Chinese exports to Africa as well as Chinese business practices isn't helping so much, says Mohamed Gueye. Problem, what problem?
Military cooperation goes back to the Cold War period when China was keen to help African liberation movements. Apart from some traditional allies such as Somalia and Uganda, China also had military ties with non-aligned countries such as Egypt. Military equipment worth $142 million was sold to African countries between 1955 and 1977. Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, military relations are now based on business interests rather than ideology.
There is no Chinese military presence in Africa other than that used in peacekeeping. In 2004, China deployed around 1,500 soldiers under the UN umbrella, dispatched between Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. China is also present via its military attachés; as of 2007, it has 14 attachés in 14 different African countries while there are 18 African countries who maintain their attachés in Beijing. Apart from peacemaking, China provides military training and equipment to a few countries, though this does not require military forces to be deployed.
Africa is a host of three Chinese cultural centres. The first overseas Chinese centre was opened in Mauritius in 1988. Two other followed in Egypt and Benin. The Confucius Institute, which focuses on the promotion of the Chinese language and culture, has 20 centers distributed around 13 African countries.
Historically, little is known about early African immigration to China, although there is no doubt and much consensus that the human species was originally from Africa. Due to recent developments in relations, many have been relocating for better opportunities. Places dubbed 'Little Africa' and 'Chocolate city' are increasingly receiving new immigrants, mostly Nigerians. Most of the African immigrants are concentrated in the area of Guangzhou with an estimated number of 20,000. It is estimated that there are around 10,000 illegal African immigrants in China and police crackdowns have intensified since early 2009.
In contrast, early Chinese immigration to the African continent is slightly better documented. In 1724, a few Chinese convicts were brought as labourers to South Africa from the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia) by the Dutch Empire. In the early 19th century, another wave of immigrants came to South Africa as workers brought by the British to work in agriculture, infrastructure building and mining. In recent years, there has been an increasing presence of Chinese in Africa. Estimates vary by source though Xinhua, China's official news agency, states that there are no less than 750,000 Chinese nationals working or living in Africa. The number of Chinese illegal immigrants remains unknown.
Due to the low prices of Chinese-made weaponry and military equipment, an increasing number of African countries shifted their source of supply from traditional providers such as Russia to China. However, the selling of arms to some states accused by Western countries of war crimes, such as Sudan, have prompted criticism in the West (see Criticism section below).
The Zimbabwean example is relevant. Relations between China and Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe have also been the focus of criticism by a few Western countries. China was accused of supplying Zimbabwe with jet fighters, vehicles and other military equipment. China declared in 2007 that it was dropping all kinds of assistance and limiting assistance to humanitarian aid. In July 2008, the Chinese diplomacy asked Mugabe "to behave" though critics see that as a way for China to protect its own interests in this country should a regime change.
Chinese role in Africa has sparked much criticism, mainly by Western countries who accuse it of "neocolonialism". As a response to such criticism, China issued the Nine Principles to Encourage and Standardise Enterprises' Overseas Investment, a charter and guide of conduct to Chinese companies operating abroad. Other criticism include the flooding of the African markets with low-cost Chinese-made products, thus harming the growth and the survival of local industries and businesses.
As the Chinese economy booms, a major priority is securing natural resources to keep pace with demand, and investment into China's central Asian neighbors are doing leaps and bounds to meet this demand. Chinese oil companies have invested into Kazakh oil fields, China and Kazakhstan have constructed an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to China and are planning to construct a natural gas pipeline. In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, China has invested in hydroelectric projects. In addition to bolstering trade ties, Beijing has contributed aid and funding to the region's countries. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of which China is a founding member, is also becoming increasingly important in Central Asian security and politics. Many observers believe that beyond fostering good-neighborly relations, China is also concerned with securing its borders as it emerges as a world power.
Xi Jinping has called China's efforts to build trade links that extend through Central Asia to the Middle East a New Silk Road.
Sino-Arab relations have extended historically back to the first Caliphate, with important trade routes, and good diplomatic relations. Following the age of Imperialism, the Sino-Arab relations were halted for several centuries, until both gained independence in the 19th and 20th century. Today, modern Sino-Arab relations are evolving into a new era, with the SACF (Sino-Arab cooperation Forum) helping China and the Arab nations to establish a new partnership in an era of the growing globalization.
During the Tang dynasty, when relations with Arabs were first established, the Chinese called Arabs 大食(Dàshí or Dashi). In modern Chinese, Dashi means Great Food. The modern term for Arab is 阿拉伯 (Ālābó or Alabo).
The Arab Islamic Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan (r. 644-656) sent an embassy to the Tang court at Chang'an.
Although the Tang Dynasty and the Abbasid Caliphate had fought at Talas, on June 11, 758, an Abbasid embassy arrived at Chang'an simultaneously with the Uyghur Turks in order to pay tribute.
The Caliphate was called "Da Shi Guo" (ta shi kuo) 大食國.
An Arab envoy presented horses and a girdle to the Chinese in 713, but he refused to pay homage to the Emperor, said, he said "In my country we only bow to God never to a Prince". The first thing the court was going to do was to murder the envoy, however, a minister intervened, saying "a difference in the court etiquette of foreign countries ought not to be considered a crime." A second Arab envoy performed the required rituals and paid homage to the Emperor in 726 A.D. He was gifted with a "purple robe and a girdle".
There was a controversy between the Arab ambassadors and Uyghur Khaganate Ambassadors over who should go first into the Chinese court, they were then guided by the Master of Ceremonies into two different entrances. Three Da shi ambassadors arrived at the Tang court in 198 A.D. A war which was raging between the Arabs and Tibetans from 785-804 benefited the Chinese.
According to Professor Samy S. Swayd Fatimid missionaries made their Dawah in China during the reign of Al-Aziz Billah.
In Islamic times Muslims from Arabia traded with China. For instance, China imported frankincense from southern Arabia via Srivijaya.
China under the Kuomintang had established relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. The Chinese government sponsored students like Wang Jingzhai and Muhammad Ma Jian to go the Al-Azhar University to study. Pilgrims also made the Hajj to Mecca from China. Chinese Muslims were sent to Saudi Arabia and Egypt to denounce the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Fuad Muslim Library in China was named after King Fuad I of Egypt by the Chinese Muslim Ma Songting. In 1939 Isa Yusuf Alptekin and Ma Fuliang were sent by the Kuomintang to the Middle eastern countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Syria to gain support for the Chinese War against Japan.
Gamal Abdel Nasser cut off the diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and established the new tie with the People's Republic of China in 1956. By the 1990s all Arab states had finished to recognize the People's Republic of China as the legitimate state of China.
The relations between China and the Arab League as an organization, officially started in 1956, yet it was in 1993, when the Arab League opened its first Office in China, when former Secretary general Essmat Abdel Megeed went to an official Visit to Beijing, in 1996, the Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited the Arab League headquarters during his visit in Cairo, to become the first Chinese leader to have an official visit for the Arab League.
In the opening ceremony of the Forum in 2004, Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said that "the Arab world is an important force in the international arena, and that China and Arab countries enjoy a time-honored friendship."
"Similar histories, common objectives and wide-ranging shared interests have enabled the two sides to strengthen cooperation," he said. "No matter how the international situation changes, China has always been the sincere friend of the Arab world."
The Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum was formally established during President Hu Jintao's visit to the League's headquarters in January 2004. Hu noted at the time that the formation of the forum was a continuation of the traditional friendship between China and the Arab world and an important move to promote bilateral ties under new circumstances.
Li stated that "the establishment of the forum would be conducive to expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in a variety of areas."
"The PRC has submitted four proposals. First, maintaining mutual respect, equitable treatment and sincere cooperation on the political front. Second, promoting economic and trade ties through cooperation in investment, trade, contracted projects, labor service, energy, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture, environmental protection and information. Third, expanding cultural exchanges. Finally, conducting personnel training," he said. Arab foreign ministers attending the meeting agreed that the formal inauguration of the forum was a significant event in the history of Arab ties with China. They submitted a variety of proposals on promoting Sino-Arab friendship and cooperation. At the conclusion of the meeting, Li and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa signed a declaration and an action plan for the forum. Li arrived in Cairo on Sunday evening for a three-day visit to Egypt, the last leg of a Middle East tour that has taken him to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.
The 2nd SACF was held in Beijing in 2006, it discussed Chinese proposal of a Middle east Nuclear-free, and the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. while the 3rd SAFC is set to be held in Bahrain 2008
One of the major Joint Projects involves the Environment, the AL and PROC signed the Executive Program of the Joint Communiqué between the Environmental Cooperation for 2008–2009
The League of Arab States and the Government of People’s Republic of China signed the Joint Communiqué on Environmental Cooperation (referred to as the Joint Communiqué) on June 1, 2006. The Joint Communiqué is an important instrument that aims to deepen the regional environmental partnership between the two parties. Since the signing of the Joint Communiqué, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection have coorganized two environmental protection training courses in June 2006 and June 2007 respectively, in China.
In order to implement article 4 of the Joint Communiqué, both parties shall develop this Executive Program for 2008 and 2009. It aims to enhance the cooperation between the League of Arab States and China in the field of environmental protection, which is in line with the common aspiration of the two parties and their long term interests, and will help to promote the friendship between the two parties.
The two parties will try to involve relevant government departments and sectors, and will actively promote and seek cooperation on the projects and activities in the following areas:
01*Environmental Policies and Legislation 02*Biodiversity Conservation 03*Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, Waste Management and Control of Other Kinds of Pollution 04*Cooperation on Combating Desertification and Managing Water Resources in Arid Areas 05*Coordinating the Stand on Global Environmental Issues 06*Environmental Industry 07*Enhancing Environmental Education and Raising Public Awareness in Environment 08*Other Projects that the two may develop and implement other projects of common interest after negotiating with relevant government departments and sectors. 09*Financial Arrangements 10*Final Provisions
This treaty was signed by Arab Ambassador Ahmed Benhelli Under secretary general Am Moussa's Approval, and Xu Qinghua Director General Department for International Cooperation, Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China's current trade volume with all South Asian nations reaches close to US$20 billion a year.
Beijing runs trade surpluses with many partners, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Fast on the heels of the U.S. offer of nuclear power plants to India, Chinese Authorities have helped Pakistan establish nuclear power plants of its own to meet its nuclear needs, which officially consist primarily of energy requirements, although, as per certain perspectives, this could be used for Pakistani and Chinese military, quite possibly defence, purposes. China also lends to and invests in South Asian nations with low-cost financial capital, to help their development sector, especially with the current economically struggling countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal
Pakistan and China historically have had very deep, trustworthy and strong relations. Modern relations between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China take root mostly in diplomatic actions taken by Deng Xiaoping and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during the 1970s, partiially as a component of the Chinese economic reform. More recently, China has signed several free trade agreements with Pakistan as well as several bilateral trade agreements such as the Early Harvest Agreement and the establishment of a duty-free export zone (Sost Dry Port) in Pakistan's Northern Areas. Pakistan and China, as per common knowledge and perspective, are arguably strong allies and trade and contacts have steadily increased over the years. China continues to invest heavily into Pakistan, and is providing assistance in the development of that country's 3rd major port at Gwadar, timber transhipments from Mozambique, as well as improving infrastructure and the development of a pipeline from the said port towards China's western regions. Trade and goodwill between Pakistan and China are relatively strong due to the bordered Muslims area of Xinjiang, who used Pakistan as a transit to Mecca/Makkah for pilgrimage. This has been unstable after the Chinese crackdown on Xinjiang residents during Ramadan. Pakistani students often go to China to study while Chinese workers come to Pakistan to work on infrastructure projects. Pakistan ceded a portion of Kashmir. They also share the Karakoram Highway, one of the highest paved roads in the world. Pakistani and Chinese authorities collaborated on everything from Nuclear and space technology where help was provided by China to Pakistan, to cruise missile and naval technology, where Pakistan helped China get hold of western technology which it could otherwise not acquire. A common quotation referred to Pak China Friendship is, "A Friendship Higher then the Heights of Himalayas and deeper than the depths of Arabian Sea".
Despite lingering suspicions remaining from the 1962 Sino-Indian War and continuing boundary disputes over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, Sino-Indian relations have improved gradually since 1988. Both countries have sought to reduce tensions along the frontier, expand trade and cultural ties, and normalise relations.
A series of high-level visits between the two nations have helped improve relations. In December 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited India during a tour of South Asia. While in New Delhi, he signed with the Indian Prime Minister a series of confidence-building measures for the disputed borders. Sino-Indian relations suffered a brief setback in May 1998 when the Indian Defence minister justified the country's nuclear tests by citing potential threats from China. However, in June 1999, during the Kargil crisis, then-External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Beijing and stated that India did not consider China a threat. By 2001, relations between India and China were on the mend, and the two sides handled the move from Tibet to India of the 17th Karmapa in January 2000 with delicacy and tact.
Since 2004, the economic rise of both China and India has also helped forge closer relations between the two. Sino-Indian trade reached US$36 billion in 2007, making China the single largest trading partner of India. The increasing economic reliance between India and China has also brought the two nations closer politically, with both India and China eager to resolve their boundary dispute. They have also collaborated on several issues ranging from WTO's Doha round in 2008 to regional free trade agreement. Similar to Indo-US nuclear deal, India and China have also agreed to cooperate in the field of civilian nuclear energy. However, China's economic interests have clashed with those of India. Both the countries are the largest Asian investors in Africa and have competed for control over its large natural resources. India and China agreed to take bilateral trade up to US$100 billion on a recent visit by Wen Jiabao to India
Early relations with the People's Republic of China were cold due to China's veto at the United Nations Security Council to block Bangladesh's accession to the United Nations. Lately however China has made efforts to improve relations with many of its neighbors. Trade with China reached a record level in 2006 of $3.2 billion under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (AFTA). The trade balance between the two countries are in China's favour. China has also officially agreed to helping Bangladesh on developing their nuclear power plant. Bangladesh has also signed the Apsco convention with six other nations to form a pact with China on space exploration.
Having fought two wars against Japan (1894–95 and 1936–45), China's long-standing concern about the level of Japan's military strength surfaces periodically, and criticism of Japan's refusal to present a full version of the atrocities of World War II in its textbooks is a perennial issue. The relationship between China and Japan has been strained at times by Japan's refusal to acknowledge its wartime past to the satisfaction of China. Revisionist comments made by prominent Japanese officials and some Japanese history textbooks regarding the 1937 Nanking Massacre have been a focus of particular controversy. Sino-Japanese relations warmed considerably after Shinzo Abe became the Prime Minister of Japan in September 2006, and a joint historical study conducted by China and Japan released a report in 2010 which pointed toward a new consensus on the issue of World War 2-era atrocities. However, in the early 2010s, relations cooled once more, with Japan accusing China of withholding its reserves of valuable rare earth elements.
China's geopolitical ambitions focus on Southeast Asia, where Beijing is intent upon establishing a preeminent sphere of influence. China has pursued this ambition with a diplomatic campaign designed to bind the region to China - politically, economically, and militarily. China's transformation into a major economic power in the 21st century has led to an increase of foreign investments in the bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties.
Historically, China's relations with the region has been uneasy, due to the country's involvement with the Vietnam War, the Malayan Communist Party during the first and second communist insurgencies in Malaysia, as well as the Communist Party of Indonesia and 30 September Movement in Indonesia. As a result, previously friendly relations with Indonesia under the Sukarno government broke off in 1967, and were not restored until 1990, while diplomatic relations with Malaysia were not established until 1974. China's conflict with the government of Vietnam over the support of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia resulted in the Sino-Vietnamese War and other border conflicts. China's relationship with Singapore is good, and the latter is one of only three countries that can enjoy visa-free entry to the country, starting April 17, 2011.
In 2002, China and ASEAN agreed to create a code covering conduct in the South China Sea, that has yet to be finalized.
In 2010, China claimed "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Sea, but said that the other nations in the area could continue to navigate its waters. Ted Carpenter of the Cato Institute has called these claims "breathtakingly bold".
In 2011, China objected to a growing collation of nations that were grouping together to resist Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea, saying that these nations could not "counterbalance and contain China as they expected." Later that year China updated its strategy to "prevent more members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from joining the Washington-led containment policy", through the use of "Dollar diplomacy." This has proven more effective with the poorer ASEAN countries, as these are dependent on Chinese support.
The end of the long-held animosity between Moscow and Beijing was marked by the visit to China by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989. After the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union, China's relations with Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union became more amicable as the conflicting ideologies of the two vast nations no longer stood in the way. A new round of bilateral agreements was signed during reciprocal head of state visits. As in the early 1950s with the Soviet Union, Russia has again become an important source of military technology for China, as well as for raw materials and trade. Friendly relations with Russia have been an important advantage for China, offsetting its often uneasy relations with the United States. Relations with Europe, both Eastern and Western, generally have been friendly in the early 21st century, and, indeed, close political and trade relations with the European Union nations have been a major thrust of China's foreign policy in the 2000s. In November 2005, President Hu Jintao visited the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain and announced China's eagerness to enter into greater political and economic cooperation with its European partners.
Recent years have seen Beijing's growing economic and political influence in South America and the Caribbean. During a visit to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba in November 2004, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced US$100 billion worth of investment over the next decade. For instance, Cuba is turning to Chinese companies rather than Western ones to modernize its crippled transportation system at a cost of more than US$1 billion, continuing a trend of favoring the fellow communist country that has made Beijing Cuba's second-largest trading partner after Venezuela in 2005. In addition, China is expanding its military-to-military contacts in the region. China is training increasing numbers of Latin American and Caribbean region military personnel, mainly due to a three-year-old U.S. law surrounding the International Criminal Court that has led to a sharp decline in U.S.-run training programs for the region.
Caribbean regional relations with China are mostly based on trade, credits, and investments which have increased significantly since the 1990s. For many Caribbean nations the increasing ties with China have been used as a way to decrease long time over-dependence on the United States.
Additionally, China's policy in the region was the utillisation of "dollar diplomacy" or the attempts to switch many nations from recognizing Taiwan as an independent nation instead to the recognition of the "One China" policy in exchange for Chinese investment.
More recently, during various visits by several Chinese diplomats to the Caribbean region a deal was signed for China to help establish the Confucius Institute at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, with a possible additional one to be established at the Cave Hill Campus. These agreements are part of the basis of teaching Mandarin Chinese language courses at the regional University.
China has also expanded several levels of cooperation with the Caribbean region. China and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago were said to have formed an agreement where asphalt from Trinidad and Tobago would be exported to China during its construction boom in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. In exchange, China has led several construction projects in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region via Chinese owned construction companies. Trinidad and Tobago has also mooted the idea of starting direct shipments of oil and liquid natural gas direct from Trinidad and Tobago to China, to fuel the later's growing need for resources to fuel their economy.
As the Caribbean political heads of government have had several messy run-ins with the Bush administration in the United States with respect to recent demands, China has been more sympathetic to the Caribbean position globally and has stepped up military training exercises in the Caribbean for example in direct response to several sanctions placed on governments in the Caribbean region for not following the wishes of the Bush administration.
Several capital-works or infrastructural projects across the Caribbean region have also been financed by the Chinese government.
Diplomatic relations between Barbados and the People's Republic of China were established on 30 May 1977. China began providing Barbados with diplomatic aide with the construction of the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium (1986), and other projects such as: construction assistance for the Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (1994), and renovating Bridgetown's Cheapside Market building (2005). In 2005, China exported US$19.19 million worth of goods, while importing only $211,000 from Barbados.
The current Chinese Ambassador to Barbados is Xu Hong, who heads the embassy in Christ Church, Barbados. Hong replaced the former Ambassador Wei Qiang in 2012. The current Barbadian Ambassador to Beijing, China is the country's former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford.
In 2004 Barbados obtained Approved Destination Status by the government in China. Barbados and China are members of the United Nations, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Group of 77.
Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the Barbadian prime minister visited the Chinese Embassy to personally sign the book of condolence to the nation.
Over the years a number of building projects have been carried out with Chinese government assistance these include: The Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, two adjustments on the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, a Home Vegetable Growing Experimental Center, embroidery, grass weaving and feather handicraft. A consideration was also giving according to the Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson for China to assist with the opening of a new cruise ship facility in Barbados.
Chinese Premier Wen said that China would like to join hands with Barbados in deepening cooperation in the areas of trade, tourism, architecture, and cultural exchange.
China's export volume to Barbados in 1999 reached US$2,035,000, while imports from Barbados were at US$13,000.
Both nations have additionally signed bilateral agreements including a Double taxation agreement and a Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments treaty.
The Chinese government remains one of the main stakeholders in the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which lends to the various territories throughout the Caribbean region.
Cuban–Chinese relations are the interstate relations between China and Cuba. The relations are based on trade, credits, and investments which have increased significantly since the 1990s. China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela. At a ceremonial trade gathering in Havana in early 2006, China’s ambassador to Cuba said "Our government has a firm position to develop trade co-operation between our countries. The policy, the orientation, has been determined. What’s left is the work to complete our plans."
Bilateral trade between China and Cuba in 2005 totaled US$777 million, of which US$560 million were Chinese exports to Cuba. China is sending a growing amount of durable goods to Cuba. Chinese goods have become the primary tools both in the planned revitalisation of Cuban transport infrastructure and in the "Energy Revolution" of 2006 to provide electricity to the Cuban populace.
Sinopec, the Chinese state oil company, has an agreement with state-owned CUPET (Cuba Petroleum) to develop oil resources. As of mid-2008, SINOPEC had done some seismic testing for oil resources on the island of Cuba, but no drilling. The company also has a contract for joint production in one of Cuba's offshore areas of high potential yield, off the coast of Pinar del Río, but had done no off-shore drilling as of mid-2008.
In November 2005, PetroChina Great Wall Drilling Co., Ltd. and CUPET held a ceremony for the signing of two drilling service contracts, to provide di; Great Wall Drilling has provided drilling rigs for oil exploration on Cuba's north coast.
China maintains diplomatic relations with eight countries in Oceania: Australia, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu whilst Taiwan has diplomatic relations with the other six. The Pacific is an area of intense and continuous diplomatic competition between the PRC and the ROC, with several countries (Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu) having switched diplomatic support from one to the other at least once. Both the PRC and the ROC provide development aid to their respective allies. the PRC also wants to establish a preeminent sphere of influence in the Pacific Islands.
In 2003, China announced it intended to enhance its diplomatic ties with the Pacific Islands Forum, and increase the economic aid package it provided to that organisation. At the same time, Chinese delegate Zhou Whenzhong added: "[T]he PIF should refrain from any exchanges of an official nature or dialogue partnership of any form with Taiwan".
In 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China would increase its economic cooperation with Pacific Island States. The PRC would provide more economic aid, abolish tariffs for exports from the Pacific's least developed countries, annul the debt of those countries, distribute free anti-malaria medicines, and provide training for two thousand Pacific Islander government officials and technical staff.
Also in 2006, Wen became the first Chinese premier to visit the Pacific islands, which the Taipei Times described as "a longtime diplomatic battleground for China and Taiwan". Similarly, according to Ron Crocombe, Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific, "There have been more Pacific Islands minister visits to China than to any other country".
In 2007, Xinhua, the Chinese official press agency, stated that Pacific Islands Forum member countries had "spoke[n] highly of the generous assistance China has provided to the region over the past many years and expressed the hope for a further enhanced cooperation with China".
In December 2007, Dr John Lee of the magazine Islands Business asked himself and his readers:"Why is China so interested in the Pacific? After all, despite the differences in size, population, wealth, and influence between China and islands in the region, the Chinese have literally rolled out the red carpet for Pacific leaders. Meetings between Chinese and Pacific leaders are not perfunctory ‘meet and greets’ in the bland boardrooms of hotels. They are often elaborate state functions with all the bells and whistles that state meetings can offer. [...] In a word, the Chinese want ‘influence’. China sends more diplomats around the world than any other country. [...] In terms of the Pacific, there is a more disturbing game being played out, namely the ‘chequebook diplomacy’, that is taking place between China and Taiwan in their competition for diplomatic recognition at the expense of the other. Taiwan matters profoundly to China—and it is largely why China is interested in the Pacific."
That same month, John Henderson of the University of Canterbury stated that, in his view, many Pacific Islanders are worried "that their livelihood is being taken away by Chinese traders coming in, often getting in buying political privileges, playing a role in rigging elections". Henderson suggested that the 2006 anti-Chinese riots in Tonga and Solomon Islands could be repeated in countries such as Fiji and Vanuatu. He added that this might lead the PRC to increase its role in the region further, in order to protect ethnic Chinese Pacific Islanders. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Fiji, Hu Lihua, responded by stating: "China does not pose a military threat to any other country. China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics and will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion." A representative of Fiji's Chinese community similarly rejected the idea that there might be anti-Chinese riots in Fiji, and added: "The Chinese in Fiji have an excellent relationship with locals and we contribute toward the economy. We have been successful in understanding local customs. Many of us have learnt the language and have assimilated."
The final report of the April 2008 Australia 2020 Summit addressed China's influence in the Pacific in the following terms:"It was noted that so far China did not seem interested in exporting its political values. Its interaction with the region was economically focused or motivated by rivalry winth Taiwan.
Noting China’s growing military power and its emerging role as a major aid donor in the region, participants agreed that while China’s visibility had increased rapidly there remained uncertainty over what it was seeking to achieve, especially in the long term. Securing energy supplies was one obvious goal. One strand of thought that had emerged was that the Chinese themselves were not entirely clear about their aims in the region."
In June 2008, a report from the Lowy Institute stated that China's aid policy towards the Pacific was almost certainly aimed solely at encouraging Pacific countries not to grant diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, and that there was no sign of the PRC attempting to increase its military influence or its access to the region's natural resources. Reuters reports that, according to the Institute's findings, "China's chequebook diplomacy in the South Pacific and secrecy over its aid programme to small island nations is having a destabilising impact on the region", due to "concerns that dollar diplomacy was influencing local politics." A spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded: "This assistance is on the basis of mutual benefit. It must help the local economy to develop and promote people's livelihoods. China would never interfere in these countries' internal affairs."
In June 2009, parliamentary delegations from four Pacific Island countries were jointly received by Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The delegation comprised Isaac Figir, Speaker of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, Tu'ilakepa, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Manu Korovulavula, head of the Public Accounting Commission of Fiji, and Billy Talagi, head of the Legislative Committee of Niue (a dependent territory of New Zealand). The delegation also met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who spoke of increased "economic and trade cooperation"; Xinhua reported that the Pacific Island legislators "expressed appreciation for China's assistance" and "reiterated their countries' adherence to the one-China policy".
In August and September 2010, the People's Liberation Army Navy began an unprecedented "goodwill visit" to its Pacific allies, touring Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia. Its aim, as reported by the People's Daily during the ships' four-day stop in Tonga, was "enhancing friendship and strengthening military cooperation".
In April 2011, the Lowy Institute issued a new report noting that China, in its approach to the Pacific, had been "shifting from grant aid to soft loans", which were "leading to increasing problems of indebtedness" and "making Pacific governments vulnerable to political pressure from Beijing". The report suggested that countries may struggle to repay the loans within the set timeframe, and that "outstanding loans may well tie Pacific countries to Beijing", in a context of diplomatic competition with Taipei. The report also noted, however, that some loans "are destined for projects that will create economic growth; growth that will create jobs, reduce poverty and help make repayments".
In May 2011, addressing the University of the South Pacific in Suva, PRC Ambassador to Fiji Han Zhiqiang stated that Sino-Pacific cooperation had resulted in "plenty of substantial outcomes and benefits for the people in this region". He indicated that the volume of trade between the PRC and Pacific Island countries had increased by about 50% between 2009 and 2010, reaching € 2.46 billion. The value of PRC exports to the region that year was €1.74 billion (up by 42% from 2009), whilst the value of its imports from the Pacific Islands was €730 million, up almost 100%. PRC investments in the Pacific Islands in 2010 -primarily to Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji- had reached almost €72 million.
In April 2012 China continued to widen its diplomatic influence with loans and aid with the region.
As an emerging and developing economy, China is a very important trading partner and destination for Australian raw material export for the growth of Australian economy. The two countries are currently strengthening their economic relations. The 2007 election of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia has been seen as favourable to Sino-Australian relations, notably in view of the fact that he is the first Australian Prime Minister to speak fluent Mandarin, and that closer engagement with Asia is one of the "Three Pillars" of his foreign policy.
In 2004, Rudd, who at the time was Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, had delivered a speech in Beijing entitled "Australia and China: A Strong and Stable Partnership for the 21st Century".
In February 2008, Australia reportedly "chastised Taiwan for its renewed push for independence" and "reiterated its support for a one-China policy". In April, however, Rudd addressed Chinese students at Peking University, and, speaking in Mandarin, referred to "significant human rights problems in Tibet". Rudd also raised the issue in talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in a context of "simmering diplomatic tension" according to TV3. In August 2008, Rudd met Wen once more, and expressed his concerns on "questions of human rights, of religious freedom, of Tibet, of internet freedom".
Fiji was the first Pacific Island country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, in 1975. Fiji's current ambassador to China is Sir James Ah Koy. China's ambassador to Fiji is Cai Jinbiao.
Among the Pacific Islands countries, Fiji was, in 2010, the second largest importer of PRC exports, after Papua New Guinea, and had a trade deficit of A$127m in its trade relations with China.
Fiji's foreign policy under Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase (2000–2006) was (in the latter's own words) to "look north" - i.e., strengthen its relations with Asia in general and China in particular. Qarase stated: "We look now for new markets, where there is flexibility of entry and a readiness to meet the export needs of small, isolated island countries. This is what we would like to engage on with China as we increasingly look north for the answers to our trade and investment aspirations."
In 2005, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian visited Fiji, where he was greeted by government delegates with "full traditional Fijian ceremony of welcome" - although he did not meet his counterpart President Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, nor Prime Minister Qarase. Ambassador Cai expressed China's "disappointment" at Fiji for having authorised the visit. Later that year, relations were slightly strained once more when Fiji supported Taiwan's wish to join the World Health Organization. Nonetheless, Qarase's government did not vary from its official recognition of the "One China" policy.
Following the military coup in Fiji in December 2006, the PRC distanced itself from the Western nations which condemned the overthrow of Qarase's government. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy director general Deng Hongbo stated:"We have always respected Fiji's status as an independent nation and we have called on the other countries to do the same and reconsider their attitudes towards Fiji and the current situation in the country."
The post-coup "interim government" led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama has continued Qarase's "look north" policy. In July 2007, Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry responded to the contrast between Western criticism and Chinese support for Bainimarama's government:"Fiji has friends in China, it has friends in Korea, it has friends in [...] other Asian countries. We’re no longer relying on Australia and New Zealand. And in any event, the United States was not doing much for Fiji anyway."
Later that year, a China/Fiji Trade and Economic Commission was set up to enhance economic relations between the two countries. The PRC has maintained a position of support, calling on other countries to show "understanding" for Fiji's situation. And although Fiji has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the latter's Trade Mission representative in Fiji, Victor Chin, has also called on the international community not to pressure Fiji: "I think we should give the interim government the benefit of the doubt. They committed to have an election when everything is ready. I think we should take their words [sic] for it."
In March 2008, following unrest in Tibet, Fiji expressed its support for China's actions in dealing with rioting in Lhasa. Shortly thereafter, police in Fiji arrested seventeen people who were protesting in support of Tibet outside China's embassy in Suva. Those arrested were "mainly women who had gathered peacefully", according to a Radio New Zealand International correspondent, and included human rights activist Shamima Ali.
A May 2008 article in The Sydney Morning Herald stated that "China's aid to Fiji has skyrocketed since the coup in December 2006", from €650,000 to over €100,000,000. The author of the article commented: "Just as Australia and other Western donors are trying to squeeze [Fiji's] rebel Government, China has dramatically stepped up its aid, effectively dissipating any pressure Western donors might have been generating." The author suggested that China did not wish to risk antagonising Fiji and thus unwittingly push the Bainimarama government towards seeking aid from Taiwan: "China clearly finds itself boxed into a corner. On the one hand, Western states are asking it to help isolate the new dictatorship in Fiji. On the other, China faces the risk of losing a Fiji starved of funds to its renegade province, Taiwan."
In August 2008, while on a visit to China, Commodore Bainimarama spoke of the "very close and cordial relations that our two countries share in our trade, cultural and sporting linkages", and added:"Fiji will not forget that when other countries were quick to condemn us following the events of 1987, 2000 and 2006, China and other friends in Asia demonstrated a more understanding and sensitive approach to events in Fiji. The Government of the People’s Republic of China expressed confidence in our ability to resolve our problems in our way, without undue pressure of interference."
In February 2009, at a time when Fiji was facing pressure from the Pacific Islands Forum over its apparent lack of progress towards a restoration of democracy, Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Fiji and met Prime Minister Bainimarama. On that occasion, Xi stated that he wished to "further enhance [Sino-Fiji] exchanges and cooperation in such fields as culture, education, public health and tourism". Xinhua reported that, during Xi's visit, China and Fiji had "signed a number of cooperative deals" by which China would provide Fiji with "economic and technical assistance". China committed itself to increasing its imports from Fiji. Bainimarama, for his part, re-affirmed his country's recognition of the One China policy, and, as reported by Fiji Village, "thanked the Chinese government for fully recognizing Fiji's sovereignty and adopting a policy of non-interference in its domestic affairs".
In May, Vice-President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau described Fiji's "relationship with the government and the people of the People's Republic of China as one of its most important".
In June 2009, the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, an organisation founded in Australia to campaign for the restoration of democracy in Fiji, sent a petition to the Chinese embassy in Canberra, asking China to "withdraw support for the military regime". At the same time, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith asked China "not to use [its] contacts with Fiji to undermine efforts to pressure Fiji to hold elections".
Despite close relations between Fiji and the PRC, Taiwan provides continuous free medical assistance to the country. A Taiwanese medical team visits Fiji on an annual basis to offer its services in hospitals and clinics. The Fiji government has expressed its gratitude for the help.
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia opened an embassy in Beijing.
Diplomatic relations with New Zealand were first established in 1972. the PRC diplomatic representative to New Zealand, Zhang Limin, is also accredited to New Zealand's associated territories, the Cook Islands and, since 2008, Niue. The People's Republic of China in December 2007 became the first country to establish official diplomatic relations with Niue, and provides economic aid to the Cook Islands.
In September 2007, New Zealand reaffirmed its adherence to the "One China" policy.
In April 2008, New Zealand became the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with the PRC.
On 29 September 2008, New Zealand's delegate in United Nations openly praised the improving relations between the two governments of Beijing and Taipei.
In July 2009, Niuean Premier Toke Talagi stated that, if development aid were not forthcoming from New Zealand, he would request aid from China instead.
Papua New Guinea
Diplomatic relations with Papua New Guinea were established in 1976, soon after Papua New Guinea became independent.
Papua New Guinea is one of China's biggest trade partners in Oceania. Papua New Guinea exports far more to China than does any other Pacific Islands country, and imports three times more from China than does any other such country. It is also one of the few countries in the region to maintain a trade surplus in its relations with China; its surplus reached a record high of A$427m in 2010.
In 1999, the government of Prime Minister Bill Skate recognised Taiwan. Skate lost power less than a week later, and Papua New Guinea's diplomatic recognition reverted to China.
In 2003, Chinese embassy in Port Moresby published a statement of concern in reaction to comments in the Papua New Guinea press questioning the justification for PNG's relations with the People's Republic. The embassy statement insisted that relations between the two countries were mutually beneficial, reasserted Chinese claims to Taiwan, and concluded: "It is our sincere hope that the local [PNG] media will report on China and its relations with PNG in a just and objective way, so as to further enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries."
In July 2003, PNG Governor General Sir Silas Atopare visited China, re-affirmed his country's adherence to the One China policy, and, according to a statement published by Chinese embassy, "thank[ed] the government and the people of China for their commitment in providing aid to PNG's development".
In 2005, relations cooled somewhat when Papua New Guinea, along with Fiji, supported Taiwan's wish to join the World Health Organization.
It was announced that members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force would receive training provided by China. Traditionally, military training aid in Papua New Guinea had been provided by Western countries, namely, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
The diplomatic relations between China and Samoa were established in 1975.
In the late 1980s, China began sending doctors to the Samoan National Hospital, and sent over a hundred over the following two decades. Samoa significantly increased its volume of imports from China in the late 2000s, while also increasing its exports to that country. In 2010, Samoa reached a record trade deficit in its relations with China, at A$70m. In 2007, China provided Samoa with an x-ray machine and several volunteer doctors. In 2008, China donated over €1,360,000 to Samoa to fund its education policies.
In March 2008, following unrest in Tibet, the speaker of the Samoan Fono (legislative assembly), Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, stated that foreign leaders should not interfere with China as it deals with "internal affairs", and that they should not meet the Dalai Lama.
In June 2008, Samoa announced it would be opening diplomatic missions in China and Japan - the country's first diplomatic offices in Asia. In September, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement indicating that China and Samoa have always "conducted fruitful cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, agriculture, sports, culture, education and health, as well as international affairs", and that China intended to "make more tangible efforts to support Samoa's economic and social development".
In 2010, the Chinese government-funded China-Samoa Agricultural Demonstration Farm was established in Nu'u with an aim "to train the Samoan farmers on voluntary basis through Chinese agricultural planting techniques". About 500 Samoan farmers received training from Chinese agricultural experts.
In 2011, 57 Samoan students were studying in China on a Chinese government sponsorship.
Relations with Tonga were first established in 1998. In 2000, noble Tuʻivakano of Nukunuku (later to become Prime Minister) banned all Chinese stores from his Nukunuku District. This followed alleged complaints from other shopkeepers regarding competition from local Chinese. In 2001, Tonga's Chinese community (of about three or four thousand people) was hit by a wave of about a hundred racist assaults. The Tongan government decided not to renew the work permits of over 600 Chinese storekeepers, and admitted the decision was in response to "widespread anger at the growing presence of the storekeepers".
That same year, however, Tonga and China decided to strengthen their "military relations". In 2008, China provided Tonga with military supplies worth over €340,000.
In 2006, rioters caused severe damage to shops owned by Chinese-Tongans in Nukuʻalofa.
In April 2008, Tongan King George Tupou V visited China, reaffirmed his country's adherence to the "One China" policy, and, according to the Chinese State news agency Xinhua, "supported the measures adopted to handle the incident in Lhasa". King Tupou V also met Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to "enhance exchange and cooperation between the two militaries". Xinhua stated that China and Tonga have "fruitful cooperation in politics, economy, trade, agriculture and education, and kept a sound coordination in regional and international affairs".
In early 2010, Chinese aid to Tonga included assistance in the reconstruction of Nuku'alofa's central business district; "an agricultural project in Vaini"; health clinics set up in Vavaʻu and Vaini; the provision of seven Chinese doctors for a two-year period; and an allocation of €2.2 million "for social and economic development", including "soft loans and interest free loans to the Tonga Government".
In April 2011, the Lowy Institute reported that, of all Pacific countries, Tonga was carrying the highest burden of debt from Chinese loans, amounting to 32% of Tonga's GDP. Simultaneously, the International Monetary Fund warned Tonga was "facing debt distress", a "very high possibility that Tonga [would] be unable to service its debts in the future".
In 2006, Vanuatu signed an economic cooperation agreement with China, whereby the latter was to assist Vanuatu's economic development, and remove tariffs on imports from Vanuatu. China also added Vanuatu to its list of approved tourism destinations for Chinese tourists. Ni-Vanuatu trade minister James Bule said his country had also requested China's assistance "in supplying machines so we can establish a plant in Vanuatu to produce bio fuel". By contrast, Opposition leader Serge Vohor has said China is exerting too much influence on the ni-Vanuatu government's policy.
In May 2009, Vanuatu appointed its first ever ambassador to China, former Minister of Finance Willie Jimmy. Jimmy "call[ed] [...] for China to have a foot firmly planted in the Pacific through Port Vila", which -the Vanuatu Daily Post remarked- "no doubt caused ruffled feathers among other foreign diplomatic partners".
In July 2010, Chinese Ambassador Cheng Shuping announced that China would fund a number of projects in Vanuatu, "including the National Convention Centre and the expansion of Prime Minister’s Offices", as well as "the design and reconstruction of the Francophone Wing of the University of the South Pacific Emalus Campus".