Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
During the recent years, the rapid progression of China has become increasingly manifest
on the international arena. Accordingly, it has been questioned whether the world is
currently witnessing the re-emergence of a new ‘Pax Sinica’, implying a period of Asian
dominance as evident during the 10th century. In general, China has tended to be
portrayed as a threat to the US hegemony and the current ‘Pax Americana’. In light of
China’s quest for new markets and energy supplies so as to sustain its growing economy, its
search for global alliances and enhanced presence in the resource-rich continent of Africa
is of significant importance.
As such, this study has argued that the Sino-African relationship could be seen as an illustration of China’s endeavor towards global recognition. In this context, the conceptual framework of geopolitics has been used to enhance the understanding of the Sino-African relationship, the potential of a ‘Pax Sinica’ and the various perspectives surrounding it. Potential constraints and possibilities from both an African, Western and Chinese perspective have accordingly been examined.
In particular, the concept of critical geopolitics has been employed in order to better
identify different notions of power, common discourses and their possible motivations.
The concept of hermeneutics has likewise been applied so as to move beyond the general
impression of China and its interaction with Africa. In doing so, some of the core
components of the multifaceted Sino-African relationship have been investigated, i.e. aid,
trade, and oil. Likewise, the implications of Chinese migration to Africa and the
country’s role in ‘less significant’ countries such as Ethiopia have been considered.
The main conclusions of this study are that there are strong indicators of China becoming
a leading hegemony, and particularly in the ‘Global South’. From a geopolitical
standpoint, two distinct perspectives in regards to China and their interaction with Africa
have been highlighted. The first one is the typical Western standpoint, which has
commonly adopted a more conventional geopolitical perspective in their portrayal of ‘the
greedy Chinese’ as a global threat. This has been put in contrast to the more critical
geopolitical perspective of China, who has pointed to its asserted ‘peaceful rise’,
unconventional strategies and use of ‘soft power’. In acknowledging China as the leading
hegemony of the ‘Global South’, it is likely to believe that the world will sooner or
later enter an era of ‘Pax Sinica’.
2011. , 89 p.