China’s Emerging Economy and its Potential Role in the Stabilization Process in Afghanistan

A Capitalist Peace Theory Approach

Master's Thesis, 2011

68 Pages, Grade: 2


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of Tables and Figures

1. Introduction
1.1. Starting point: Problem Diagnosis
1.2. Political and Scholarly Relevance of the Work
1.3. Central Questions, Research Goals, Hypothesis
1.4. Method of Inquiry and Structure of the Work
1.5. Theories and Methods
1.6. Sources and Literature/State of Current Research

2. China’s Foreign Security Policy
2.1. China’s Emerging Awareness.
2.1.1. The ‘Harmonious World’ Policy.
2.2. China’s New Security Concept
2.2.1. China’s Perspective
2.2.2. Others Points of View
2.3. Summary.

3. The Capitalist Peace Theory
3.1. Background.
3.2. Democratic vs. Capitalist Peace
3.3. The Capitalist Peace Theory
3.4. The Intrastate Peace
3.5. Counterarguments
3.6. Summary

4. Part I - Key Issues in Chinese-Afghan Relations
4.1. Historical Relevance
4.2. Growing China and Chinese Interests
4.2.1. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
4.3. China’s Concerns
4.3.1. The Xinjiang Region
4.3.2. Illicit Drugs
4.3.3. Natural Resources
4.4. Afghanistan’s Point of View
4.4.1. Economic Interests
4.4.2. Security Concerns
4.5. Summary.

5. Part II - China’s Involvement in Afghanistan
5.1. China’s Increased Interest in Afghanistan
5.2. Investments and Development
5.3. Critiques
5.4. Summary

6. Conclusion: Findings, theoretical insights, possibilities and future research..

Bibliography of Sources and Literature.

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

List of Figures

Figure 1: Effect of key variable on risk of international crisis (Interests)

Figure 2: The Golden Crescent

Figure 3: Opium Flow from Afghanistan to China

Figure 3a: Chinese Graphic of Golden Crescent Trafficking

Figure 4: Minerals in Afghanistan

Figure 5: U.S. Geological Survey - China’s Growing Appetite for Minerals

List of Tables

Table 1: Effects of Markets, Development, and Difference on Interstate Peace

Table 2: Chinese investments in Central and South Asia

Table 3: Sino - Afghan bilateral trade

1. Introduction

1.1. Starting Point: Problem Diagnosis

There is a growing concern about Afghanistan’s future. The time has come to finally solve the quagmire in Afghanistan. Many recent concerns have been raised regarding the situation. One is the planned withdrawal of combat forces in July 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama announced on 22 June 2011 that the process of withdrawing the U.S. forces from Afghanistan would start in July 2011.1 Many questions about Afghanistan’s future are being raised. For example, one of the main concerns is whether there could be another way that could lead to Afghanistan’s security.2

Geographically, Afghanistan borders six countries. Among its neighbors, the biggest and economically wealthiest country by far is China. Even though China is the country Afghanistan shares the shortest border line (76 km) a lot of potential collaboration could be very beneficial not only for Afghanistan, but also for China and the whole region. China is now the second largest economy and is ever expending, its demand for energy-rich resources is increasing. This reason makes it enough for China to have close interdependent relationships with the rest of the world and especially with the countries surrounding it. China is seriously planning to look beyond its borders to strengthen regional cooperation and to further unite regional states. China has an increased desire to present and promote the concept of ‘a harmonious world’ consisting of a lasting peace accompanied by development; where all countries work together to achieve this common goal.

For China to fulfill its goals of further development, it is important to transfer some attention to Afghanistan. A secure Afghanistan should be in China’s interests. With regard to that, the newly discovered minerals in Afghanistan could become of crucial importance to China’s economy. Furthermore, Afghanistan is progressively turning towards China and is seeing an opportunity that would lead to its own stability by opening its mineral fields for economic purposes.

This study attempts to address Chinese role in contributing to Afghanistan’s stability through economic means. China in many ways should start to be seen as a potential factor that could lead to the stabilization of its own bordering region. Nowadays, many countries are rather afraid of Chinese policies and tend be rather cautious towards it. The solution for that would be that countries rather than being afraid of Chinese policy should take a more opportunistic approach, where China is seen as a country to benefit others.

Chinese reluctance to be militarily involved in Afghanistan has presented huge criticisms towards its policy, mainly from the U.S.’ point of view. China is even being considered as a ‘free rider’ in Afghanistan. Meaning that at the expense of others that try to contribute to a more secure Afghanistan, China is getting its economic benefits out of this country without taking too much care to its security. For the time being, it seems like a controversy where China wants to invest heavily into Afghanistan, but does not want to contribute to any military interventions for its security sake. The question that lies ahead is whether China has any interests in a secure Afghanistan and how far China is willing to contribute to the process of stabilizing Afghanistan. Could the economical collaboration become an important aspect that contributes to more security in Afghanistan?

Answering these questions is not something that can be done easily. One of the reasons is that in the field of studies about this particular issue, not much has been researched about. Both countries do express some interests in mutual cooperation, however, to clearly come to a conclusion of whether China is or could be an important factor that would lead to Afghanistan’s development and stability requires further research. Nevertheless, enough information exists to shed some light on the issue through the presentation of the case study as well as to provide a starting point for broader analyses.

1.2. Political and Scholarly Relevance of the Work

The current thesis came mainly to existence due to increasing debates on how to find a way for Afghanistan that would additionally improve this country’s development and eventually lead to its stabilization. The study therefore is politically-relevant because it examines documents, journals, articles and other papers that deal with China’s increasing engagement in Afghanistan. Therefore, the aim is to see to what extent the Chinese interest in Afghanistan can contribute to the improvement of the current security policy within Afghanistan as well as to some extent lead to China’s security and the whole region itself. By providing arguments and data, this thesis would start a rather different way of approaching that would eventually lead to securing, stabilizing and developing Afghanistan. Basically it is a study about testing whether through economical means a security policy could be achieved, by providing solid theoretical and empirical explanation.

It is important to note that this is a new field of research; that is why the scholarly relevance of the present thesis is in a way twofold. First, no comprehensive study thus far has systematically analyzed the economic factor as a peace stabilizing factor in the case of the Sino-Afghan relations. Second, not much study has been conducted about how investments and development in Afghanistan could actually lead to a stable state. Furthermore, almost no scientific research has been conducted about China possibly leading the main role as a stabilizing factor in Afghanistan, where China’s economic policy can be of benefit to Afghanistan. It is a fact that a lot of media coverage, think tanks, NGOs and other institutions deal with China and its importance, however, not many have done any profound research about China and its behavior. More research needs to be done. This study is both politically- and scholastically-relevant and could be a starting point for further development.

1.3. Guiding Questions, Research Goals, Hypothesis

This study is going to focus mainly on the main question of what kind of interest China has in Afghanistan and to what extent it could contribute to Afghanistan’s stability. China, by developing its interests in Afghanistan, could to some extent develop both sides, where Afghanistan and China could have a win-win situation. The economic factor is playing a leading role in this case. Still, is it going to be used as a factor of stability?

The goal of this study is to give a rather different perspective that could lead to a more stable Afghanistan. The ultimate goal is to show that through economics and investments a more secure, developed and stable Afghanistan could become the reality. The reason for choosing China to become a leading country in contributing to Afghanistan’s security is based on several aspects. The first one is that China is geographically ideally located since it borders with Afghanistan. Second, China is economically developed and has a growing tendency, which makes it a perfect contributor for further investments in Afghanistan’s resources and infrastructure. Third, China would have a very close market of minerals, mainly copper, of which it is the main consumer.3 Fourth, by contributing to a more secure Afghanistan, China’s issues of concern like natural resources, the Xinjiang region and illicit drug trafficking could become problems of the past. Fifth, Afghanistan is increasingly looking towards the east rather than the west for closer cooperation. Particularly the case is China because it has a more supportive policy towards Afghanistan’s politics rather than Western countries.

This paper’s main hypothesis is that economic interdependence leads to more security. The more a country is economically developed due to investments the more it leads to its own stability and security. The Sino-Afghan case would show that the more China invests in Afghanistan the more Afghanistan is going to be stable. The economic approach is crucial in this case. Economic interdependence between Afghanistan and China would eventually lead both countries to fulfill their own interests and bring more security.

1.4. Method of Inquiry and Structure of the Work

This study is going to use the capitalist peace theory as a supportive argument that would further contribute to the idea of economic factors leading to more security, as the theory itself promotes. For the current study, the reason for choosing particularly Afghanistan is both for its high level of insecurity as well as for being one of the poorest countries in the world.

Regarding the work structure, it contains an introductory part and four main chapters leading to the conclusion with results and recommendation. Chapter 2 is going to highlight China’s growing economic power and the increased energy demand. This chapter will also show China’s desire to present and promote the concept of ‘a harmonious world’ consisting of a lasting peace accompanied by development; where all countries work together to achieve this common goal. Another principle that will be explored is the ‘New Security Concept’. This concept is based on the idea that emphasizing common interests will contribute to social progress. The main way in doing so is achieved primarily through economic persuasion. Finally, the chapter will show that some critics question the validity of the ‘New Security Concept’. Chapter 3 is going to demonstrate the theoretical part of the study which is going to support the main idea of the study.

Chapter 4 will illuminate Chinese fast economic growth that leads to greater needs. At this point Afghanistan becomes also a country of interest. Furthermore, the chapter is going to briefly present the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), since it is also showing a growing interest in Afghanistan and one of its main leader countries is China. The SCO is also explicitly cited by China as an example of China’s new security diplomacy.4 Throughout the chapter three main Chinese concerns regarding Afghanistan are going to be presented. The first concern is Xinjiang related, whose stability is of great concern for China. Another issue that is going to be presented is drug smuggling. The final concern that is going to be presented is natural-resource related. Finally, Afghanistan’s point of view is going to be illustrated in the last part of this chapter, where a great possibility exists for Afghanistan to be opening up its mineral resources for China in return for development and stabilization.

Chapter 5 will highlight Chinese actions taken in Afghanistan. One of the main examples shown in this chapter is going to be the Afghan Aynak Copper fields, where China already invested over $ 3.4 billion,5 to exploit the copper. Furthermore this investment is going to bring further Chinese investments into Afghanistan’s infrastructure. Tables provided in this chapter are additionally going to support and show the growing tendency of Chinese investments into Afghanistan. Finally, the chapter is going to show some other views that are rather critical of Chinese investments in Afghanistan.

as a final point, a conclusion will be drawn with final results, findings, recommendations, possibilities and further proposals.

1.5. Theories and Methods

As already pointed out, the main aim of this paper is to show whether China could through economic means contribute to stability within Afghanistan and eventually to the whole Central Asian region itself. Furthermore, questions like whether China is interested in a secure Afghanistan are closely followed. However, to support the main idea that economical activities like investments and collaboration could contribute for more stability and security, it is important to look at it also from the theoretical perspective.

The discussions that economic interdependence leads to more security are attributed to economic liberalism. The particular theory that deals with this phenomenon is the capitalist peace theory. It is a theory of liberal peace based on capitalism and common interests. According to Gratzke, “capitalism encourages cooperation among states by creating conditions that make war unappealing or unnecessary.”6 Moreover, the theory talks about how economic cooperation between countries that leads them to more development eventually contributes to more security and makes them rarely to never engage in war with each other, or even participate in minor disputes. As already pointed out, Chapter 2 is going to present the theoretical part of this study. Still, it is important to note that this is a case study that is theoretically driven. The theory in this case serves as a supporting method that is to an extent tested.

Before illustrating the Sino-Afghan relations in more detail and providing main points of why it is important for these two countries to cooperate, the presentation of the capitalist peace theory would be best to support the main idea of this relationship. This means that China by economic cooperation and investments in Afghanistan could contribute to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, China and the whole region. The second chapter also presents the views of several scholars that argue that the capitalist theory does not only apply to democracies, but also to autocracies. The capitalist peace mainly supports the argument that economic interdependence makes states less likely to get into conflicts. Furthermore, the chapter will show that as much as the capitalist peace is important for interstate stability, it is also for intrastate stability.

Moreover, this paper is a case study method that tries to present a systematic way of looking at events by collecting data, evaluating information and reporting the outcomes. The result might help to understand the process and to see what may be important for future research. In doing so, the case study wants to test the hypothesis.

1.6. Sources and Literature/State of Current Research

This study is mainly based on journals, government documents and press releases, a few research reports, newspaper articles, as well as think tank reports. Since this is a rather new field of research it is important to note that not much detailed work has been done, to examine all the issues that are going to be presented in this study. Not much comprehensive and deep analysis has been conducted on this topic. The needed information was very limited, many of the required literature was not available. Sometimes, the source reliability and accuracy were questionable. However, there is enough information available to start the study and leave more space open for future research.

The journals, research reports and think tank reports all come from reputable researchers. Recognized institutes, think tanks and journals where this information was found mostly came from institutes like the Council of Foreign Relations, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre, Foreign Affairs, German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), International Review, Institute of South Asian Studies, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and many others. In addition, several governmental institutions have been used, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ministry of commerce of the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore, articles used come from world recognized newspapers like the New York Times, BBC News, Spiegel Online, China Daily, and many others. Finally, the literature about the capitalist peace theory comes from most known scholars that deal with this particular topic. One of the main researchers, who argue that economic development and free markets are responsible for the observed peace, is Erik Gartzke. Many other names are prominent who promote similar ideas that eventually lead to a capitalist peace including Erich Weede, Indra de Soysa, Hanne Fjelde, J. Joseph Hewitt, Gerald Schneider, Nils Petter Gleditsch and others. For the purpose of this work a lot of emphasis was put to try to find the best available scholars, thinkers, researchers for the needed topic, and a lot of effort was spent for the information to be as reliable as possible. Still, one has to keep in mind that the field of research as well as the theory is still at the beginners phase and further research needs to be done to fully cover all the elements.

2. China’s Foreign Security Policy

This chapter illustrates China’s growing economic power and the increased energy demand. To achieve rapid and continuous economic growth, China is seriously planning to look beyond its borders to strengthen regional cooperation and to further unite regional states. The chapter will also show China’s desire to promote the concept of ‘a harmonious world’ consisting of lasting peace accompanied by development; where all countries work together to this common goal. To be sure, mutual suspicion and distrust are obstacles to effectively implementing this concept. Another principle that will be explored is the ‘New Security Concept’. This concept is based on the idea that emphasizing common interests will contribute to social progress. The ‘New Security Concept’ introduces a view of the world, and China’s role within it, where force is no longer a valid instrument for conflict resolution. Instead dialogue and mutual cooperation will be used to resolve disputes. Further, the way of promoting such dialogue and mutual cooperation will be used to resolve disputes. Finally, finally the chapter will show that some critics question the validity of the ‘New Security Concept’. This is because they do not believe it can be implemented equally because of social, cultural and economic differences among the countries. Some would even further argue that the ‘New Security Concept’ is just “a tool to pull the wool over Western eyes.”7

2.1. China’s Emerging Awareness

Since the late 1970s the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has experienced extraordinary economic development through its transformation and opening policies for over 30 years. China’s current international significance is to a large extent based on its rapidly growing economy. The Chinese economy became the world’s second largest by overtaking Japan; in addition it also became a recognizable world power. China’s economic power continues to increase every year with an average steady economic growth of almost 10% for the past 26 years.8 The country has a great impact on the global economy as a whole. China is the most populated country in the world and its economic power is ever expending, this makes it the world’s largest energy consumer,9 which simultaneously shows that demands for energy efficient resources are enormous. These reasons among many others force China to have close interdependent relationships with the rest of the world and especially with the countries surrounding it. Many countries benefit from these relationships including China itself.

Throughout its recent history China has experienced a variety of changes. According to Li Mingjiang,10 China has changed from a “revolutionary state to a developmental state, from a planned economy to a trading state and from an extremely opaque Leninist party-state to an authoritarian state.”11 The primary goal of reforms in the late 1970s was to accomplish rapid and continuous economic growth. The goal of the new Chinese foreign policy had been peace and development. To achieve this regional states are very important. On the 16th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress in 2002 in Beijing it has been said that in the next twenty years China wants to strengthen regional cooperation and further unite regional states. Economic growth and an ever growing demand for energy forces China’s to look beyond its own borders. The country is increasingly investing in other states to secure a stable supply of various energy resources and raw materials. These resources are needed to supply and satisfy a huge population as well as to sustain manufacturing. According to estimates, total consumption of such minerals like aluminum, copper, iron and nickel accounted for 7% of the world total consumption in 1990, 15% in 2000 and 20% in 2004 with the tendency to a continuing increase.12

Although China is well integrated economically, it is politically very much isolated from the rest of the world. However, to promote peaceful coexistence, China is in a search of different approaches from other great powers. For example, by applying self-restraint on various issues and promoting the formation of win - win situations.13 In the past decades China has repeatedly emphasized its peaceful intentions. It wants to participate in the international order in a productive manner and contribute to peace throughout the world, mainly through the ‘new security concept.’ China wants to be different than have been emerging great powers in the past that have fought wars with existing ones. For China to respond to various threats like terrorism, international crime, drug trafficking and many more it focuses on increasing its national defense spending and modernize the military power.14

2.1.1. The ‘Harmonious World’ Policy

At the 17th CCP Congress in 2007, China’s President Hu Jintao pointed out that China in today’s world situation should promote its policy of promoting the building of “a harmonious world of lasting peace accompanied by development.”15 This concept is the view of an ideal international community that President Hu Jintao has presented. In his opinion countries need to come together to overcome various problems such as international crime, drug trafficking, environmental pollution, diseases and many other. These problems are not restricted by borders; they are cross-boundary troubles that require international cooperation. He divided the ‘harmonious world’ into four specific areas that need to be addressed.

The first is to “uphold multilateralism to realize common security.” Basically this means that all countries should unite to fight global security threats. The second is to “uphold mutually beneficial cooperation to achieve common prosperity.” The president said that “development has a bearing on the vital interests of the people of all countries, and also on the removal of global security threats from their sources. Without universal development and common prosperity, our world can hardly enjoy tranquility.” He also pointed out that developed nations should accept heavier responsibility for opening markets, debt forgiveness and other forms of assistance to have coordinated and balanced world development. The third is to “uphold the spirit of inclusiveness to build a harmonious world together.” The diversity of countries and cultures can benefit everyone as people begin and continue to learn from one another. Of course, every nation’s right to determine its own social system and method of development should be respected. The fourth is to “promote UN reform actively and prudently” since they promote cooperation, development and peace.16 The idea of the ‘harmonious world’ is about China’s foreign policy norms and providing instructions to implement and achieve these goals. If one would connect this policy to a theory, rather than putting the ‘harmonious world’ policy under the realist theory, which would mean that generally rising powers lead to war with little possibility of a peaceful power shift. The ‘harmonious world’ policy is more a liberal point of view which stresses mutual-dependence mainly in an economic sense among individual states.17 It is crucial to remember this is a long-term goal, requiring the effort of many nations in addition to China. It is more than just a state of peace; it is a state of harmony. This harmony requires not only peaceful coexistence, but mutual assistance to advance progress for all nations.

Mistrust is clearly an obstacle to implementing the ‘harmonious world’ policy. In terms of politics and security, a lot of countries are doubtful of how an emerging China will behave in terms of using force to achieve Superpower status. Mutual distrust that eventually leads to a zero-sum game and suspicion makes this policy harder to implement, especially in light of China’s non-democratic policy.

2.2. China’s New Security Concept

Since around mid-1990s China’s regional as well as global security program has significantly changed. Ever since that period China has established stronger ties with Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. The New Security Concept comes from principles promoted by the Chinese government since the 1950s.18 It particularly draws from the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence that were introduced at the Bandung Conference of developing world nations in 1955.19 The Chinese have advocated these principles for decades until the 90s when they actually had open appeals for the ‘new’ system. In July 1998 Beijing’s Information Office of the State Council issued a white paper where fundamental principles of the new security concept have been introduced:

The world is undergoing profound changes which require the discard of the Cold War mentality and the development of a new security concept and a new international political, economic and security order responsive to the needs of our times. The core of the new security concept should be mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation.

The UN Charter, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other universally recognized principles governing international relations should serve as the political basis for safeguarding peace while mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity [is] its economic guarantee. To conduct dialogue, consultation and negotiation on an equal footing is the right way to solve disputes and safeguard peace.

Only by developing a new security concept and establishing a fair and reasonable new international order can world peace and security be fundamentally guaranteed.20

China’s New Security Concept is founded on common interest that contributes to social progress. It looks for common security through joint cooperation. Changes have been introduced. Rather than intervening militarily and politically, a different approach should be taken. Specifically, it aims for security through economic, technological, environmental, scientific and other means. According to China the new security concept should focus on building mutual trust by promoting security solely through cooperation.

2.2.1. China’s Perspective

In the post-Cold War period that is in the late 1990s, the People’s Republic of China developed, introduced and promoted a new security concept as their security policy in form of dialogue and cooperation rather than using force and threats to achieve lasting peace. China’s position paper on the new security concept explains that, in the current Chinese world view, force can no longer be use to resolve disputes and conflicts. Instead dialogue and cooperation are being introduced, which is known as China’s New Security Concept.21 According to the current director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Dr. Bates Gill, there are several motivations for China’s new security diplomacy. The first point is that China tries to maintain a more or less stable international environment; especially within its spheres of influence so it can focus on its own economic, political and social issues. China’s own areas are mainly considered to be its neighboring states. The 2002 Chinese defense white paper point out that, “a developing China needs a peaceful international environment and a favorable climate in its periphery.”22 The next point is that China wants to avoid the obvious security dilemma that its neighbors could have in reassuring mutual beneficial and peaceful relations.23 Here is where the promotion of the notion of the ‘harmonious world’ comes into being. In China’s view, the new security concept should include several aspects:

1. The concept of interests. A country’s view of security far more exceeds military aspects; its interests are also economic, social, and political among others. Particularly China is stressing economic development and improving people’s living standards.
2. The concept of threats. A country can face external, but also internal threats. China looks at the internal threats very seriously. The collapse of the Soviet Union in Chinese view is a good example where internal poverty and slow economic development lead to these results. So, to avoid these domestic threats, economic, social and environmental concerns have to be taken seriously and addressed timely.
3. The concept of various approaches to achieve security. In this concept China acknowledges that threats do not affect only single countries and that they can be spread beyond borders. That is why cooperation and multilateral strategies are important and win-win situations can be achieved.
4. The concept of the world. In this concept China expresses its view of the world where it thinks that interdependence, a multi-polar power distribution and the establishments of various institutions have made the world a more secure and stable place.24

According to these concepts, some parallels to the neo-liberal and western IR theories can be drawn, in particular to the capitalist peace theory. This IR theory is going to be presented in the second chapter. It seems as China’ new security concept is becoming an important element of its foreign policy. To implement the security concept mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination must be included. Mutual trust is understood to mean frequent dialogue regarding each other’s security and defense policies. Under mutual benefits it is meant to respect each other’s security interests and ensuring its own security interests while trying to accomplish common security. The equality element means that all countries regardless of size and power are equal members of the international community. Finally, coordination means that countries which face disputes should seek peaceful agreements through negotiation to resolve security issues.25

In summation, after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union China saw great changes happening in the world. To maintain competitiveness in the world arena without having to face internal and external security problems as well as huge governmental changes that would eventually lead to its collapse China is working actively to put the new security concept into practice. The most important way to long-term security in its surroundings China finds in the economic exchange and interaction. “China is working closely with other countries in the region for a new multi-channel, multi-dimensional and multi-faceted new economic cooperation in this part of the world.”26 Economic rather than military aspects are the elements receiving the greatest emphasis.

However, under a military dimension it more or less only states that nations should not “resort to military threats or aggression.”27 Still, in the area of military security, the concept includes several additional aspects. The military should defend a country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, protect state unification and fight foreign aggression. The military policies of every country should be defensive rather than offensive. This would include avoiding conflicts and wars and preventing further conflicts. Other aspects where military forces should focus are providing humanitarian aid, fighting terrorism and drug trafficking.28 However, keep in mind the concept of the new security policy is oriented much more economically and politically rather than militarily.

Under the new security concept the idea of China’s Peaceful Development emerged. This policy asserts that China can prosper economically in a peaceful environment and also be a vital contributor to world peace. The policy also states that China will develop economically by taking the advantage of a peaceful world environment. At the same time, China will contribute to global peace through its own development.29

This mainly was promoted by China due to international fears of its growing economic and political might, to show the world that they should view China as a facilitator for implementing and maintaining peace and security. The ‘peaceful development’ policy has been successful in many aspects. As David Denoon says, “China has shifted from the very aggressive and violent policy of 1970s and 1980s, where it was quite willing to use force, to a much more diplomatic route in the 1990s.”30 This is where China’s role becomes important regarding Afghanistan, using the new security concept to promote economic development and both international and external security.

2.2.2. Others Points of View

Some critics do not view China’s security policy as a mechanism for profound economic development and peaceful environmental change. They question whether the policy can actually be applied in “real world” conditions. It is only a set of good sounding principles without great possibilities of being implemented. Some argue that it is very anti-U.S. oriented and only attractive in theory. Japan, the European Union and the U.S. seem to have a slightly different view of international security than represented by China. They do think that NATO’s presence is crucial for security and military interventions that are an integral part of it. Moreover, NATO is quite attractive to most Eastern Europe and some Central Asian nations. Some Asian nations that support U.S. military presence in the region are likely to continue to do so. Japan and Australia are strongly connected with U.S. defense strategies, as well as, for example Singapore.31 It appears that the new security concept, like many new ideas introduced on the world stage, cannot be implemented equally to every nation. It is likely that some countries will function very well under this concept while others, due to differing conditions, will not.

Central Asian states seem likely to function well with the ‘New Security Concept’, particularly under the policy of the SCO. In the next chapter the SCO will be explained in greater detail. Some would argue that perceptions of the ‘New Security Strategy’ have to some extent calmed leaders in neighboring countries. They do not seem worried about the appearance of any conflict with China. It is also a valuable tool to prevent participation in any attempt to contain China.32 Whether the expectations for this policy will be justified is yet to be seen. Still, that it did gain the trust of most neighboring nations is clear. Afghanistan in particular seems to increasingly embrace Chinese policy; turning its attention to the East and away from the disapproval and criticism it evokes from the West. Though Chinese willingness to work more openly with its neighbors is visible, there is still some lack of transparency in addressing transnational issues. These issues include public health, environmental protection, governance and drug trafficking.33 While the ‘New Security Strategy’ holds promise as a facilitator for regional and global peace and development; and in spite of regional successes, China faces controversy and criticism that must be acknowledged.

Some critics question whether the ‘New Security Concept’ is real or just a sham to ‘pull the wool over Western eyes’.34 Skeptics say that China is trying to give the impression of peaceful intent, while in reality preparing for aggression when ready to fulfill its true intentions.35 China’s ‘free riding’ in Afghanistan has been a topic of discussions. For example, Minxin Pei writes that “China enjoys the practical benefits of the current world order but refuses to share its costs.”36 Others say that China will benefit from peace and stability in Afghanistan, obtaining mineral wealth while refusing to contribute to the reassurance of the country.37 However, one could look at the example of Afghanistan’s as an opportunity for stabilization rather than the so called ‘free riding’. Bates Gill scrutinized China’s behavior in many areas; including security, economic development and assistance, trade, human rights, and peacekeeping. In a 2007 memo, he concluded that “Looking back over the past 15 years and looking ahead to the next 10 or 15, the trend is clear that China is becoming a more responsible stakeholder.”38


1 Landler, Mark and Cooper Helene. Obama Will Speed Pullout From War in Afghanistan. The New York Times. 22 June 2011 and The White House. Remarks by the President on the Way Forward in Afghanistan. 22 June 2011.

2 The world media is increasingly drawing attention to Afghanistan in terms of U.S. starting withdrawal from the country. Different solutions on how to contribute to Afghanistan’s security are being raised as well. A lot of political discussions have been issued lately about how to contribute to expanding different possibilities that would eventually lead to Afghanistan’s build up, development and security. This makes it extremely difficult to try to put efforts in its stabilization process. One of the ways that the U.S. is increasingly becoming aware of is trying to help Afghanistan to get to use the trillion dollars worth of minerals under its soil and to get investors to invest in them. According to the U.S department of defense and many officials Afghanistan is endowed with mineral resources that could be the leading tool for its stabilization and development. This of course is only the case if it is being done properly. For further interest see Martin, Rachel, et al. “For Afghanistan, Wealth Is Just Below The Surface.” NPR. United States. 5 June 2011. NPR. Podcast.

3 Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Global Copper Market to Reach 24.82 Million Metric Tons by 2015. Report. 11 February 2011. See also Copper China. Bring Copper To Life 2011. Shanghai New International Expo Centre 2011. 13 July 2011.

4 Gill, Bates. Rising Star - China's New Security Diplomacy. Washington, D.C., United States. The Brookings Institution , 2007: 37.

5 Torjesen, Stina. Fixing Afghanistan: what role for China? Norwegian Peace-building Center. Noref Policy Brief. No. 7. (2010): 3.

6 Gratzke, Erik. Chapter 2: Economic Freedom and Peace. Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report. (2005): 29.

7 Etizioni, Amitai. Is China a responsible stakeholder? International Affairs. Vol. 87. No. 3. (2011): 542.

8 U.S. Department of State. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Washington D.C., United States. Background Note: China. 5 Aug. 2010.

9 Institute for Energy Research. Texas, United States. China: World’s Largest Energy Consumer; Surpasses the U.S. 6 Aug. 2010.

10 Li Mingjiang is an assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also an editor of several books on China’s international relations in Asia.

11 Mingjiang, Li. "Domestic Sources of China’s Soft Power Approach." China Security, 5. 2 (2009): 34-49.

12 Ibid. pp 37-40.

13 Ibid. pp 41-42.

14 National Institute for Defense Studies. Tokyo, Japan. NIDS China Security Report. Mar. 2011: 2.

15 About the harmonius world of lasting peace accompanied by development see article written by Yu Xintian.

16 National Institute for Defense Studies. Tokyo, Japan. NIDS China Security Report. Mar. 2011: 6-7. 13

17 Xintian, Yu. “Harmonious World and China’s Road of Peaceful Development,” International Review, Vol. 45. (2006): 3-4.

18 Gill, Bates. Rising Star - China's New Security Diplomacy. (2007): 4.

19 The five principles include mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

20 China’s Information Office of the State Council. China's National Defense. “The Security Situation.” Beijing, People’s Republic of China. (2000):34-35.

21 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. China's Position Paper on the New Security Concept. Bejing, People’s Republic of China. 31 July 2002.

22 China’s Information Office of the State Council. China's National Defense. “The Security Situation.” Beijing, People’s Republic of China. (2002): 1.

23 Gill, Bates. Rising Star - China's New Security Diplomacy. (2007): 10.

24 Mingquan, Zhu. GIS Working Paper (Hong Kong Baptist University). “Beyond Westphalia and New Security Concepts.” No.6 (2005).

25 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. China's Position Paper on the New Security Concept. Bejing, People’s Republic of China. 31 July 2002.

26 Ibid.

27 Pollpeter, Kevin. U.S. - China Security Management, Assessing the Military-to-Military Relationship. 2004: 38.

28 Finkelstein, David M. China's “New Concept of Security.” (2003).

29 Pan, Esther. The Promise and Pitfalls of China’s ‘Peaceful Rise.’ Council on Foreign Relations. 14 April 2006.

30 David Denoon is a former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense and professor of Asian politics and economics at the New York University.

31 Finkelstein, David M. China's “New Concept of Security.” (2003). 18

32 Yahuda, Michael. Chinese Dilemmas in Thinking About Regional Security Architecture. The Pacific Review. Vol. 16. No. 2. (2003): 189.

33 Economy, Elizabeth. China’s Rise in Southeast Asia: Implications for the United States. Journal of Contemporary China. Vol. 14. No. 44. (2005): 421.

34 Etizioni, Amitai. Is China a responsible stakeholder? International Affairs. Vol. 87. No. 3. (2011): 542.

35 Follath, Erich. The Dragon's Embrace - China's Soft Power Is a Threat to the West. Spiegel Online. 28 July 2010.

36 Pei, Minxin. China: The Big Free Rider. Newsweek. 22 January 2010.

37 Kaplan, Robert D. Beijing’s Afghan Gamble. The New York Times. 6 October 2009.

38 Bates, Gill. China Becoming a Responsible Stakeholder. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Event Resource. 11 June 2007.

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China’s Emerging Economy and its Potential Role in the Stabilization Process in Afghanistan
A Capitalist Peace Theory Approach
University of Hamburg  (Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik)
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china’s, emerging, economy, potential, role, stabilization, process, afghanistan, capitalist, peace, theory, approach
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Nerkez Opacin (Author), 2011, China’s Emerging Economy and its Potential Role in the Stabilization Process in Afghanistan, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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