China’s New Clout

Geoffrey York of the Globe and Mail writes about China’s growing influence in his blog, “The Middle Kingdom”:

…[China] is not just an economic superpower. It is also rapidly becoming a diplomatic superpower, wielding its power around the world in quiet but important ways. We need to watch China and understand China because the Chinese government is fast gaining influence over the direction of the world community.

One of the best examples is China’s influence at the . Not long ago, China preferred to stay in the background at the UN, keeping a low profile and trying to avoid conflicts. Today this has changed dramatically. China is one of the most powerful countries in the UN decision-making process.

The latest evidence comes from a new study by the European Council on Foreign Relations, released this week.

On crucial issues such as Myanmar, Darfur and Zimbabwe, the report finds that Chinese diplomats at the UN are becoming more powerful and winning more support from many other countries.

Read also related commentary on the EU’s waning influence from Richard Gowan and Franziska Brantner, “Europe Needs a New Human Rights Strategy” at the Financial Times. For more information on the study of European influence at the UN by the European Council on Foreign Relations, read Ian Traynor’s article “Haemorrhaging of Western Influence at UN Wrecks Attempts to Push Human Rights Agenda” from The Guardian:

The west’s efforts to use the United Nations to promote its values and shape the global agenda are failing, according to a detailed study published yesterday.

A sea change in the balance of power in favour of China, India, Russia and other emerging states is wrecking European and US efforts to entrench human rights, liberties and multilateralism. Western policies in crisis regions as diverse as Georgia, Zimbabwe, Burma or the Balkans are suffering serial defeats in what the study identifies as a protracted trend.

For a different perspective of China’s influence on the global stage, see ABC News Australia, Gemma Howell’s interview with Simon Winchester, “Embrace Rise of China, Winchester Urges West.”

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