The foreign policy in the People’s Republic of China is a clear guidance of how it
interacts with other nations. This policy is highly influential to the rest of the world given that
China is emerging as a superpower due to the growth in its economy and technology. Officially,
China states that it "unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. The
fundamental goals of this policy are to preserve China's independence, sovereignty and territorial
integrity, create a favorable international environment for China's reform, opening up, and
modernization construction, maintain world peace and propel common development."
(Richardson 28) China is likely to dominate the world and accept the Western-shaped
international system due to its aggressive nature but Roy says that this rise will reduce the net
security for most of the countries in the world (262). This policy is likely to be influenced by the
fact that China is emerging as a great superpower and the cultural history of previous dominance
with a desire to take back the republic to its position of regional hegemony (Roy 39).
The foreign policy has therefore played a role in the participation of China in various
activities and organizations such as the U.N. The foreign policy of China is derived from the
Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence enumerated in 1954 when the communist government of
China was trying to appeal to the Asian countries that were non-communists (Richardson 29).
These principles include peaceful co-existence, mutual benefit and equality, territorial integrity
and mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and mutual
non-aggression. They have continued to use these principles to safeguard their sovereignty and
prevent interference from superpowers such as the U.S. (Beardson 336).
Similar to other nations, the foreign policy of China is under the foreign affairs ministry
but it is under a Foreign Affairs Leading Group which is responsible for policy making
decisions. However, the foreign policy of the republic is distinct from most of the Western states
because it has a body of strategic thoughts on Chinese international relations.
National Security Interest
A national security law was first enacted in the people’s republic of china in the year
1993 and was later on, in 2014, replaced by the Counterespionage law which is broader (Pye and
Fishman 154). This law authorizes the government to safeguard the assets of China as well as the
activities within its territories. It also outlines the response to threats against its physical space,
cyberspace, Polar Regions and the deep sea. The law also provides for an establishment of a
crisis management leadership system in the national security. In reference to this law, the armed
force has been made more contemporary, revolutionary and regular in the defense of national
security. In this regard, the republic is also a claimant of various territories along its borders and
maritime peripheries such as Spratly islands, South China Sea, and Taiwan. To undermine the
influence of historical superpowers such as the U.S, especially on National Security interests,
government ties between China and Russia have improved after the two presidents signed an
agreement of Cooperation and friendship in the year 2001 (Richardson 64). As a result, Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) was formed by the two countries together with Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to promote the stability of the region and cooperation to
Approach to National objectives and other issues.
The officials of the Chinese government insist that all disputes should be resolved
through peaceful negotiations. In reference to this, China has often refrained or abstained from
voting at the United Nations on proposals to sanction or intervene to end terrorism, civil wars, or
reversing invasions. Due to its veto power in the council, abstinence from voting is the only way
to allow interventions go on without contradicting their principle of non-intervention (Beardson
214). For instance, when the council proposed a declaration of the Crimea referendum to join
Russia and leave Ukraine illegitimate, China abstained from voting while Russia exercised its
veto power. The decision to abstain was seen by the Western diplomats as objective and fair
considering that China usually votes with Russia on various issues (Richardson 44).
Ambassador Liu Jieyi from China said that if the proposal would have been passed, it would
have led to confrontations and more complications. He said that China would continue mediating
and promoting dialogue to politically solve the issue amicably and constructively. China also
proposed an International Coordination Procedure to come up with a political resolution and
called on parties to avoid escalating the issues.
The national security interest in China has also been reflected in its approach to various
issues regarding the neighboring states. In the year 2004, the president of China at a diplomatic
work National meeting reiterated the republic’s commitment to upholding an independent policy
to promote peace and development. He stressed the importance of an international environment,
especially its neighboring states, which is stable and peaceful with mutual benefits for a robust
economic growth for all. Regarding this, the spokesman for the foreign ministry outlined the
diplomatic philosophy of China that consists of eight plans as follows:
China would not seek dominance as it is still a developing country with few
resources. And even if it grows to a developed country, it would not fight to be
China would not practice politics of power and will uphold the policy of non-
interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Its ideologies would not be
imposed on other countries.
China calls for equal treatment of countries despite their size or economy and
mutual respect among all states. International affairs should be resolved through a
consultation with all countries participating equally
China would make a decision on any international affair based on the matter at
hand with no double standards. This is based on the premise of doing unto others
what they would like to be done on them.
China believes that all countries should relate with others on the basis of the UN
charter that governs international relations and does not support unilateral politics.
It would respect the authority of the U.N and would not make rules against the
charter and international relations guidelines.
In resolving of international disputes, China advocates consultation and
negotiation in a peaceful manner. It does not advocate the use of force or threats in
solving these disputes and maintains aa national military that is reasonable for
defending its territory and sovereignty which does not expand or invade other
China does not support terrorism and the propagation of mass destruction
weapons. It is a committed signatory of the international community and abides by
international policies faithfully.
China appreciates and respects the civilization diversity in various countries. It
advocates for cultural exchanges, learning from others, and complementing others
with own strengths. China does not support the confrontations and clashes due to
cultural or religious differences and does not associate any particular group with
Disputes over Senkaku/Diaoyu islands
These are a group of islands that are not inhabited found in Japan and China that have
been under the control of Japan since the year 1895 apart from the period from 1945-1972 in
which they were administered by the U.S as part of Ryukyu Islands (Roy 231). In addition to the
People’s Republic of China, Taiwan also lays a claim on the group of islands while Japan
maintains that the archipelago is ‘terra nullius’ to mean that it belongs to no one. Although the
U.S has not officially stated its position on the islands claims, it is seen to have largely
contributed to the dispute and as the only one capable of unlocking it (Roy 236). After Japan was
defeated in the Second World War, an agreement between Tokyo and its allies was made in
Francisco which seemed to touch on Senkaku although not in a specific manner. The treaty
stated that "Japan would concur in any proposal of the United States to the United Nations to
place under its trusteeship system, with the United States as the sole administering authority."
(Pye and Fishman 154) The People’s Republic of China as well as Taiwan did not take part in
the conference and were not parties to the treaties. China insists on the ownership of these
islands and refers to its agreement with the U.S in Cairo that stated that all the islands in the
Pacific that had been seized from China by Japan from the First World War would be returned.
Response of Rival Countries
The U.S has openly sided with Japan regarding the issue of these islands and President
Obama actually declared that the U.S would help Japan in the case of a conflict with China over
the islands. Recently, the spokesman of the foreign ministry in China warned the so-called
United States- Japan alliance on impinging the territorial rights of China and ascertained the
‘indisputable sovereignty’ of China. He urged the United States to respect the facts, remain
impartial on territorial and sovereignty issues, to maintain a responsible attitude and to promote
regional peace and stability through speeches and actions.
Japan, on the other hand, has also opposed the People’s Republic of China in various
foreign policies besides the disputed islands. At some point, Japan was the largest aid donor of
China but the disputes over the ownership of Senkaku/diaoyu islands has led to diplomatic
confrontations between the two countries. This is especially, after provocation by the Chinese
fishing trawler that hit two coast guard ships belonging to Japan in the year 2010. Later on, in
2012, the islands were purchased by the government of Japan which has raised the danger of
military involvement. According to a survey, about seventy-three percent of Japanese citizens
view the rising influence of China negatively which further fuels the existing animosity between
the two nations. To offset the rise of China and its foreign policy, Japan has also diversified its
partnerships by engaging in agreements with countries such as Australia and India in addition to
the U.S. Such actions evidently show how Japan is worried of the rise of China and its efforts to
offset its influence.
Impact of Rising China on Foreign Policy
The robust growth and rise of the People’s Republic of China as a superpower has
attracted a lot of debate because it has greatly changed the relations with the other countries. The
rise has been viewed as a recipe for conflicts and a cause of anxiety. This growth is likely to
challenge the dominance of the U.S and completely change their position in the international
arena in reference to Ni (236). The balance of power in Asia where Japan has been the main
superpower is also being affected. From various events, it is clear that China is treading carefully
in its quest for a hegemonic position as it seeks more authority to gain a powerful position
internationally. According to Roy, China as an emerging superpower is providing an alternative
to the Western democratic liberalism which is currently in practice. This is because China
advocates illiberal capitalism, governance strategies of free markets but guided policies, and
illiberal sovereignty in which it is against violation of national territories in the name of
With the increased growth, China has improved its profile in the international arena and
has even attained a permanent membership position in the UN Security Council. For that role, it
has grown to be a responsible regional leader and is playing a big role in promoting world
economic stability by being more constructive in its approach to international issues. On
international issues that China does not agree with the other permanent members of the U.N,
China has preferred abstinence from voting rather than the use of its veto power to frustrate
major decisions supported by the majority (Pye and Fishman). The veto powers that China
possesses have affected neighboring countries such as Bangladesh in which it rejected admission
of this country into the U.N as it considered it as part of Pakistan. It is evident that China is
transforming its international image of an aggressive and hostile country against the international
community to a key player in resolving major global crisis (Beardson 216). For instance, China
played a major role in solving the global financial crisis of 2008 in which the government availed
585 billion U.S dollars to boost the declining world economy and became seriously committed to
collaborating with the U.S, a long-time rival, to provide a long lasting solution to the crisis.
The rise of China, in my view, has a positive outcome because it will enhance a balance of
global power and as well reduce the dominance of the United States and other Western
superpowers. It offers an alternative to the model of the U.S modernization that thrives on liberal
democracy by incorporating capitalism in a socialist community. Even as the economy of China
grows massively, it has continued to show a responsibility to the international community by its
continued cooperation with the major international organizations. As seen above, China respects
and upholds the interests of the United Nations Charter and has not violated them at any time.
From its policies on foreign interactions, China ascertains its commitment to non-intervention
and equal treatment of countries despite their size or the economy in contrast with the U.S and
the other current superpowers. As China grows to an economic giant, it is likely to change the
level of interaction between the Western countries and the Developing countries that has been
marred by claims of interference in the affairs of other states, especially the developing
countries, in the name of providing aid and promoting good governance. The rise of China will
thus have a positive outcome of improving the sovereignty of all nations.
In conclusion, the foreign policy of China is worth emulation by other world superpowers.
This would go a long way in promoting world peace and stability. The principle of non-
intervention and the equal treatment of all countries, particularly, encourages the independence
of nations and a peaceful co-existence.
Beardson, Timothy. Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China's Future. Yale University Press,
Chan, Steve. China, The US and Power-Transition Theory. London: Routledge, 2008: 62-74.
Ni, Feng. China – America Relations. Reading: Paths International, 2012. Print.
Pye, Lucian W. and Ted C. Fishman. "China, Inc.: How The Rise of the Next Superpower
Challenges America and The World". Foreign Affairs 84.6 (2005): 154. Web.
Richardson, Sophie. China, Cambodia, And The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. New
York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Print.
Roy, Denny. Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security. Columbia University