Sun Degang and Yahia Zoubir: 孙德刚、Yahia Zoubir: China's Response to the Revolts in the Arab World: A Case of Pragmatic Diplomacy
Publish time: 2014-01-30 Browsing times: 10

Source: Mediterranean Politics, Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2014

Abstract:China's response to the Arab revolts demonstrates its pragmatic diplomacy. From the perspective of the ‘China–US–MENA triangle’, the Chinese leadership has perceived the revolts as an extension of China's ‘strategic opportunity’ for its economic rise and political expansion abroad in the past two decades. The tactics of China's pragmatic diplomacy are: ‘crossing the river by tossing the stones’, integrating diplomatic tools, implementing constructive intervention, quasi-alliance strategy, and smart economic aid. Through these tactics, China attempts to preserve its commercial interests, ensure the safety of its expatriates, prevent any single power from dominating MENA affairs, and achieve ‘zero problems’ with all parties in the MENA. Nevertheless, due to the changed conditions in the MENA and in reaction to varied domestic opinions on MENA policies, China's pragmatic diplomacy is too elusive to be institutionalized, and will thus face the dilemma of either adhering to its traditional diplomatic principles or safeguarding its rising practical interests in the MENA.