AFGHANISTAN IN THE FOREIGN POLICY OF PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

Kubilayhan ERMAN

Although the foreign policy of People’s Republic of China had been shaped due to historico-cultural, geopolitical and ideological conditionings, it has also undergone some changes in accordance with cyclical formats of the Cold War. The radical foreign policy transformation became visible in 1980s, simultaneously with the new economic approach, which was adopted under the leadership of Deng Xioping and this political stance provided China an opportunity to open up to the World. While PRC has focused on economic growth and development from then on, it has at the same time aimed to establish good relations with the neighbors plus near abroad and to create regional cooperation and dialogue platforms within the frame of “Peaceful Development” approach. PRC makes much of the possible contribution of safe and stable environment -which would potentially be provided by means of such an approach- to the economic and commercial relations. In this regard, it has been experiencing a period of special relations with Afghanistan, a country in its periphery. Although the Chinese foreign policy concern in Afghanistan affairs has been subjected to cyclical variations, the Soviet military intervention starting from 1979 has increased the importance of this country in the foreign policy of PRC. Presently, the insecure and instable environment in Afghanistan and its undesirable effects have become primary issues on the agenda of Beijing government. PRC, within the context of neoclassical realist paradigms, attaches importance to the threats originating from Afghanistan and it has strived to get rid of them by making use of semi-liberal approaches which could be efficient on a regional scale. Nevertheless, the pattern of PRC-Afghanistan relations has such a depth that it can not be confined to mere neighborhood relations. The function of Afghanistan as a home to Western actors since 2001, hauls China to some threat perceptions, which have been reinforced by the containment phenomenon of the Cold War as well. In this paper, the historical transformation of PRC’s foreign policy and the relations with Afghanistan are studied. In this context, the importance of Afghanistan, which is an area of multidimensional crisis for the last forty years is evaluated with regard to China.

Keywords: PRC, foreign policy, Afghanistan, security, geoeconomy