Universiteit Leiden

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From oil interests to multilateral activism: China's role in Africa's security order

  • Susann Handke, Erasmus School of Law
Wednesday 21 February 2018
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden

China’s role in global governance is changing. This paper assesses China’s increasing engagement in Africa’s security architecture. Recent developments in South Sudan are central to this process. The political economy of Chinese oil interests in Sudan/South Sudan resulted in a gradual reconstruction of the Chinese foreign policy principle of non-interference in domestic affairs, both in the Chinese scholarly discourse and in practice. The new reading permits military involvement abroad. The paper discusses how these developments are related to the institutionalisation of China’s security relations with Africa and focuses on three issues. First, it shows how domestic political interests are interwoven with China’s actions abroad. Second, it provides an overview of the changing political economy of the Sino-Sudanese oil cooperation. Third, by summarising China’s security-related activities in Africa the paper illustrates some practical consequences of the reconstructed non-interference principle. The paper investigates the parameters of China’s evolving approach to international conflict situations. It argues that before China can consider casting off to a new world order it will have to sail free from past liabilities. China’s foreign policy remains driven and constrained by its domestic political economy, while its actions during the past two decades created pitfalls abroad.

About the Speaker:

Susann Handke is an international lawyer and sinologist. Previously, she conducted research on China’s energy policy at the Clingendael International Energy Programme, The Hague. Currently, she is an external PhD candidate at the Department International and EU Law, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, and a research associate at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Centre for Regulation and Governance, Leiden. Her research interests centre on two topics – regulating decarbonisation at the international and domestic levels and China’s role in global governance.

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Registration: Please register in advance at l-peg@hum.leidenuniv.nl to receive a copy of the paper.

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