In Syria, a rare Chinese foray into foreign policy | Reuters

An explanation of China’s new efforts in Syria:

This month, a curious thing happened in the annals of diplomacy. A country offered up a peace plan to put an end to a seemingly endless civil war in Syria. This country was not one of the usual foreign policy suspects – it was not the United States, it was not in Europe, and it wasn’t Syria’s neighbor.

It was a country that has no real experience in playing the world’s policeman. But, seeing a world filled with retired officers, it decided to try on the uniform for itself. China has taken another step into the spotlight of the world stage.

This is what happens in a G-Zero world – a world without any specific country or bloc of countries in charge. China has long been content to watch world events play out and then react, trusting that another country would step in to put volatile situations to rest. But that’s not happening with the Syrian conflict and its spillover into the broader Middle East.

Americans feel that the issue doesn’t affect them enough to intervene. Europeans, as a Union, don’t seem to be particularly interested, even if some smaller countries are. And with those powers on the sidelines, suddenly the Chinese have a much bigger problem – a civil war that could metastasize into regional instability. The Chinese have far too much at stake in Iraq and Iran for that to happen: 11 percent of China’s oil imports come from Iran, and it is on track to be the chief importer of Iraqi oil by 2030.

via COLUMN-In Syria, a rare Chinese foray into foreign policy | Reuters.

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One thought on “In Syria, a rare Chinese foray into foreign policy | Reuters

  1. ayoungkang says:

    I found an interesting journal article that explores “China’s oil diplomacy” (http://www.jstor.org/stable/20454944). The author concludes that despite many scholars’ concern that China might destablize the international problems in order to satisfy its domestic need of oil, China has been generally accomodating the U.S. foreign policy towards Iran and Iraq that its “oil diplomacy” is merely a threat to U.S. foreign policy. With that in mind, it is not that surprising to see China stepping up (but not really because its proposals are void ones) since it is just playing politics of game theory- however things turn out, China’s proposal will not harm them but only help them in the future. Perhaps, when the need of oil gets much more dire and serious when resources are depleting in the far future, then this oil diplomacy might cause a problem to an international community. It might not happen in our times, but this mechanism will be extremely important then.

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