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China's Geoeconomic Strategy

June 2012

As the world continues to experience the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, it is increasingly turning towards China. The outsourced ‘workshop of the world’ has become the world’s great hope for growth, and the source of the capital the West’s indebted economies so desperately need. Simultaneously, and in the United States in particular, commentators and policymakers have increasingly voiced concerns that the economic clout of a communist superpower might pose a threat to the liberal world order. These contradictory impulses – China as opportunity and China as threat – demonstrate one clear truth, exhibited in the Obama administration’s much-trailed ‘Asian pivot’: that China is important. 

It is in this context that this report attempts to provide a systematic assessment of the economic bases of China’s foreign policy and the challenges the country faces as it makes the transition from rising power to superpower. In doing so, it is informed by a central question, of to what extent China’s remarkable growth has given rise to a geoeconomic strategy for China’s future. 



Executive Summary
Nicholas Kitchen, Editor, IDEAS Reports

China’s International Future
Odd Arne Westad

Does China have a Foreign Policy? Domestic Pressures and China’s Strategy
Jonathan Fenby 

Access: China’s Resource Foreign Policy
Shaun Breslin 

China as a Trading Superpower
Xiaojun Li 

Firms with Chinese Characteristics: The Role of Companies in Chinese Foreign Policy
Jie (Cherry) Yu

China’s Strategy towards the Financial Crisis and Economic Reform
Linda Yueh

China’s Approach to US debt and the Eurozone crisis
Nicola Casarini

What Power Shift to China?
Guy de Jonquières