China in Africa: The use of soft power and its implications for a global "peaceful rise"

Kokkinos, Stephanie Helen (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Soft power is more relevant now than ever before. In fact, in the current world system it has become an important element in exercising state power and mapping out leadership strategies. This assignment attempts to analyse the use of soft power as a post-Cold War foreign policy strategy on the part of China. Chinese relations with the African continent are assessed to prove the increasing rate at which China has expended trade and diplomatic relations in the past two decades, and to determine the degree to which soft power is contributing to China’s prospects of a harmonious rise to a position of global power. China’s foreign policy is ideologically underpinned by nationalism and confucianism. This stance is based on the need to protect and promote the economic and social stability of the state, as well as to secure a sound diplomatic identity in the international arena. For this reason, China has expanded economic interests abroad, particularly, looking upon Africa as a source of mutual development and investement, economic cooperation and an enhanced network for trade. This has lead to the growth of ‘soft’ ties between the Chinese nation and many African states, through the provision of aid, diplomatic cooperation on policy issues and the sharing of cultural values and institutional norms. In this way, China has been able to promote the perception of a peaceful rise to power and make a valuable contribution to the Chinese goal of constructing a harmonious world. Concluding a thorough analysis of China’s foreign policy behaviour it is determined that China-Africa relations are based, at least in part, on soft power, as a means to gain increased international influence. This is contended by the likeness between the behaviour advocated by soft power theory and that of Chinese interaction with African states. Furthermore, this partnership can be understood as a potential global shift towards multilateralism and the belief in an emerging international order that organised by regionalised powers that cooperate with each other on international platforms. The theory of constructivism, particularly its emaphasis on the roles of ideas, identities and institutions, is a valuable perspective to consider in approaching this discussion of China as a peacefully emerging global power.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ‘Sagtemag’ is nou meer relevante vandag as ooit tevore. Dit is inderdaad ‘n belangrike element in die uitoefening van staat mag en leierskap strategieë in die huidige wêreld. Hierdie werkstuk poog om die gebruik van sagte mag te ontleed as ‘n buitelandse beleid strategie op die deel van Sjina sedert die einde van die Koue Oorlog. Sjinese verhoudings met Arika word geassesseer om te bewys die toenemende tempo waarteen diplomatieke betrekkinge in die afgelope twee dekades bestee het, en die graad aan wat sagte mag dra Sjina se vooruitsigte van ‘n harmonieuse aanleiding tot wêreld mag te bepaal. Sjina se buitelandse beleid is ideologies ondersteun deur nasionalisme en Confucianisme. Hierdie standpunt is gebaseer op die behoefte om die ekonomiese stabiliteit van die staat te beskerm en om ‘n gesonde diplomatieke indentiteit te verseker op ‘n internasionale vlak. Om hierdie rede het Sjina uigebrei om die ekonomiese belange in die buiteland, veral op soek op die Afrika-vasteland as ‘n bron van wedersydse ontwikkeling en belegging, ekonomiese samewerking en ‘n groter handelsmerk netwerk. Dit het gelei tot die groei van die ‘sagte’ bande tussen Sjina en baie Afrika-lande, deur die voorsiening van fonds, diplomatieke samewerking oor beleidskwessies en die deel van kulturele waardes en institusionele norme. Op hierdie manier het Sjina die persepsie van ‘n vreedsame opkoms by wêreld mag te bevorder en ‘n waardevolle bydrae tot die Sjinese doel vir ‘n ‘Harmonious World’ te bou. Die sluiting van ‘n deeglike ontleding van Sjina se buitelandse beleid word bepaal dat Sjina-Afrika verhoudings is op sagtemag gebou om ‘n verhoogde internaionale invloed te kry. Dit is aangevoer deur die gelykenis tussen sagtemag teorie en die gedrag wat bepleit word deur Sjinese interaksie met Afrika-lande. Verder kan hierdie vennootskap verstaan word as ‘n moontlike globale verskuiwing na multilateralisme en die potensiële van ‘n nuwe internationale bestel wat gereël is deur regionalisering magte. Konstruktivisme, veral die teorie se nadruk op die rolle van idees, indentiteite en instellings, is ook ‘n waardevolle perspektief te oorweeg in die nader van heirdie bespreking van Sjina as ‘n vreedsame wyse opkomende wêreld mag.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20172
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