Foreign policy refers to the position taken by a country to promote its self-interest. Covid-19 has become a primary foreign policy concern for most countries because it influences the existing global trends. The pandemic has been mainly characterized by devastating socioeconomic, political, and geopolitical effects. The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the impact of the contemporary economic and political effects of COVID-19 on China’s foreign policy.
Covid 19 has mainly affected China’s foreign policy on international relations and foreign aid. The current geopolitical standing of the country mainly stems from diplomatic tensions with the U.S. In response to the U.S. that China was to blame for the pandemic, China launched a counteroffensive against the U.S. It capitalized on a hasty retreat from the health crisis to showcase its superiority while blending military aggression and international goodwill in its antics (Mertha, 2020). A key aspect noticeable in the diplomatic tensions was the Chinese military assertiveness. In April 2020, the Chinese staged a tense military standoff against the U.S. navy along Malaysia’s Borneo coast (Graham, 2020). The country’s military assertiveness attracted an unwavering counterpressure from the international political space, primarily from Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries under the U.S. umbrella protection.
The second aftermath of the covid-19 debt diplomacy was a shift in China’s foreign aid policies. The country has been offering unconditional foreign aid to vulnerable countries. Aid has proven to be an essential tool in reinforcing bilateral ties with African governments. While China views foreign aid as altruistic, global experts term it opportunistic. China provides free emergency and medical assistance to help African countries fight Covid-19 at the expense of the recipient countries’ natural resources and the economic market (Sun, 2014). For example, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a global infrastructural expansion project administered by the Chinese government to improve its international relations and sustainability. However, many analysts view the project as a disturbing expansion of the Chinese global economic and political preeminence.
A critical analysis of the global outlook reveals how foreign policy changes in China will affect the international climate during the post-pandemic era. Given the recent economic ramifications, China will need to intensify its foreign trade to revive the economy. Most likely, it will seek diplomatic alliances with Europe and developing countries to reinforce its influence. Loosely translated, a US-China-Europe triad is likely to form, which can exacerbate global anarchy risk. In parallel, China has demonstrated interest in multilateral management of global assets, such as economic development. A recent study showed that the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), an index used to determine the direction of economic trends, showed that the global economy is heading towards a recession (Akpata & Nevin, 2020). Hopefully, China’s foreign aid will resolve the geo-economic challenges, at least for vulnerable nations.
To sum up, the economic and political consequences of Covid-19 have affected China’s foreign policy on international relations and foreign aid. China has taken a rather assertive and bold military stance in response to the Sino-American rivalry while at the same time making significant foreign aid investments to establish its global preeminence and influence. On one hand, the contemporary foreign policies heighten the risk of international anarchy, but on the other, it leads to a possible sustainable and feasible rescue of vulnerable countries from economic recessions. To that effect, it is recommended that China recalibrates its foreign policy to improve international cooperation. Ultimately, the success of the global economy hinges on the security of the global business environment.
Akpata, U., & Nevin, A. S. (2020). COVID-19: Economic implication and policy responses [PDF document]. Web.
Graham, E. (2020). U.S. naval standoff with China fails to reassure regional allies. Foreign Policy. Web.
Mertha, A. (2020). Analysis: Covid-19 reveals how China’s internal politics now affect the whole world. Washington Post. Web.
Sun, Y. (2014). China’s aid to Africa: Monster or messiah? Brookings. Web.