An op-ed in the International Herald Tribune a couple of days ago argues that China is “overhauling” its attitudes toward the world’s despots, from North Korea to Burma to Sudan:
The shift has been driven in part by China’s changing calculation of its economic and political interests. With its increased investments in pariah countries over the past decade, China has had to devise a more sophisticated approach to protecting its assets and its citizens abroad. It no longer sees providing uncritical and unconditional support to unpopular, and in some cases fragile, regimes as the most effective strategy.
But an even more important motivator has been the West’s heightened expectations for China’s global role. [Full text]
An alternate view of the situation is found in an accompanying op-ed by Willy Lam, which says:
The late Deng Xiaoping’s 1990s-era axiom for Chinese diplomats – “keep a low profile and never take the lead” – seems passé. The same is true for Deng’s dictum on how to handle America: “Work on cooperation and avoid confrontation.”
Instead, after decades of teeth-gnashing silence, Beijing is publicly thumbing its nose at what it perceives to be U.S. interference in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang. [Full text]