As a rising power in the international system, China is keen on shaping the global rules, norms and practices according to its long-term strategy, as Nick Onoja reports in the Punch newspaper.
Strengthening and consolidating its position in the regional and global organisations will help Beijing to secure more international clout while shielding itself from international scrutiny on sensitive issues.
China is specifically increasing its engagements with the regional organisations of the developing world, especially with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with whom it is also intensifying its economic cooperation on a bilateral basis.
In the recent years, China has developed its relationship with the African Union politically, economically and even militarily. The relationship has been further institutionalised through the China-AU Strategic Dialogue, participation of the African Union Commission in the FOCAC alongside individual African countries and the establishment of Chinese Permanent Mission to the AU.
China has also expressed support for plans to establish an AU Representational Office in Beijing.
The symbolic construction and financing of the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa depicts the importance China levies to this relationship.
It was later reported that China used its involvement in the construction to “bug” the building. Recently, it also built the Integrated Service Project in the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.
Its approach towards the continental organisation is majorly driven by security interests while the bilateral relations are mostly economic in nature. The security interests are vital in securing China’s economic activities on the continent and so far, it has mostly worked with the AU Peace and Security Council on maintaining peace and security on the continent.
In 2015, Xi Jinping announced in a UN speech titled, “China is Here for Peace,” that the country would disburse US$100m to the AU to build its standby force and rapid response capacity.
While China is increasing its economic, political and military cooperation with the AU, it is also actively seeking participation in the African Regional Economic Communities such as the South African Development Community, East African Community and Economic Community of West African States.
Similar to building a headquarters for the AU, China has also built headquarters for ECOWAS in Nigeria, a $32m grant to finance the regional headquarters.