Friends, but not really.

The authorities of the Republic of China are based in Taiwan. The government that fled China after the Chinese Communist Party seized power in 1949. (David Chang / EFE)

Who are the government’s allies in Beijing and which countries distrustfully regard the Asian giant?

Being the biggest and richest country in the world can draw any government’s interest, but it can also cause distrust and fear.
The Chinese economy is on a roll and the government in Beijing wants to take advantage of the moment to establish alliances. However, not all countries like the idea of China becoming the new international leader. North Korea: a lifelong friend.

One of China’s oldest allies is the Republic of North Korea, which is also ruled by a communist regime.

China allied with North Korea during the Korean civil war (1950-1953) against the country’s southern half, who received support from the US.

However, recent attempts by Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s supreme leader, to develop nuclear weapons can jeopardize this relationship.

China and North Korea share geographical proximity and communist ideology (there is no private property and the means of production are in common). But in recent years China has started to establish economic policies that are increasingly similar to those of Western (capitalist) countries.

Besides being a political ally, relations with China also represent a very important part of the North Korean economy. (Wikipedia)

Russia: more than just friends?

Just like North Korea, Russia also shares ideology and its proximity to China. Both countries have claimed that this is a strategic alliance that they wish to take further in the future. Xi Jingping, today’s president of the People’s Republic of China, recently said to be seeking trust and cooperation with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

Africa: a true friend.

For years, China has been supporting the development of countries members of the African Union: from Morocco to South Africa, through Sudan, Egypt, Madagascar and even the Seychelles.

China’s interest in the African continent began after World War II (1939-1945), during the Cold War. At the time, the former Soviet Union (now Russia) and the US were enemies and the world got divided into two blocks. During those years, Africa was left out of the international agenda, but China took the chance to invest in projects and establish relationships with African leaders.

China is the main investor of infrastructures in Africa: it builds bridges and roads, as well as buildings and homes. (iStock)

In 2014, Chinese investments in Africa reached 100 billion dollars. China has become the main purchaser of raw materials produced in Africa.

South Korea: the lost brother

The relationship between North Korea and South Korea is like the one of twin brothers who live together for the first 5 years of their lives, get separated and are raised in two very different families.

The North has adopted a communist socioeconomic model and has limited almost all its relations with other countries. In contrast, the South follows a much more open model, one with an export-led liberal economic system. Life in South Korea is similar to ours.
Since they separated in the mid-twentieth century, there have been several attempts to improve relations and bring the two Koreas closer together. The last occasion: during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, South Korea.

United States: neither friends nor foes

Relations between the United States and China, called Sino-American, are usually complex and very different according to the historical moment and character of each president.

It could be said that they are like those friends who one wouldn’t meet after school, but does “get on” with (despite some differences).

So, what do they have in common? China and the United States have opposing ideologies, but they are interested in getting on with one another and staying prime trading partners. Not only that, both want to avoid a conflict with nuclear weapons.

However, they do have discrepancies on issues such as censorship and human rights in China, the political status of the island of Taiwan and other nearby islands could be an important source of oil.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report




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