Think Tank (2/2022)
How China would protect its overseas interests.
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China Protecting its Overseas Interests
08 Mar 2022
Karyn Liow

“China Protecting Its Overseas Interests” was a workshop organised by IDSS that sought to understand how China’s legislative reforms and economic policies, foreign policy principles and evolving politico-economic objectives had informed what and how China would protect its overseas interests. The event was held on 8 March 2022 and attended by 14 subject matter experts from Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

China’s rise in the 21st century has facilitated its increased involvement in the international community. By examining the changes in China’s approach towards the protection of its overseas interests, the impacts of legislative reforms and economic policies, and the involvement of security means and other state and non-state actors in the processes.

By incorporating diverse opinions from the participants, the workshop concluded that China’s protection of its overseas interests could be re-analysed and further understood from China’s domestic context, among other perspectives. China’s global involvement in areas such as peacekeeping, mediation, humanitarian assistance, and the development of developing countries is conterminous to its legislative reforms and economic policies, and informs its foreign policy approach. Through the discussion, the participants gained an in-depth understanding of the issues from their interactions, which enabled them to form a clearer picture of the possible approaches China could adopt to protect its overseas interests.

The workshop participants agreed that China’s overseas interests were diverse and that China would not compromise on protecting them. Additional policy responses from China’s strategic partners and competitors would be expected, albeit the policy effectiveness would vary based on the strength of China’s diplomatic relations with each country. While China would continue to face challenges in protecting its overseas interests, its expanding capabilities would nevertheless strengthen its desire to do so proactively.

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