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Related commentary: Asia

China’s protection of its overseas interests is becoming increasingly complex

The evacuation of Chinese citizens from Viet Nam in May 2014 and a possible new evacuation from Iraq in the next few days are just two recent examples which demonstrate that, for China, protecting its overseas interests is becoming an increasingly complex challenge. A new SIPRI Policy Paper, launched today, outlines this challenge within the context of China’s traditional policy of non-interference in other nations’ affairs, which is also coming under increased domestic scrutiny.

Afghanistan: The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more attention

On 30–31 October China hosted the postponed fourth ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference in the framework of the Istanbul Process. Inaugurated in 2011, the Process is the only multilateral vehicle led by Afghanistan, thus permitting the country a greater say in its own affairs. Its objective is to facilitate Afghanistan’s reconstruction through interregional collaboration. To this end, and in a short period of time, the Process has successfully managed to commit 14 participating members, some of which previously had difficulty coming together, to cooperate. However, the Process is beset by a number of internal and external challenges that necessitate attention. Newly elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his administration will have to designate ample human resources and diplomacy efforts to guarantee the process’ effectiveness and sustainability.

Harmony or discord? Foreign policy implications of China's upcoming Party Congress

As the Communist Party of China prepares for a once-in-a-decade change of leadership at the 18th Party Congress in November, the country’s foreign relations are in worse shape than they were 10 years ago, especially in East Asia but also in terms of heightened strategic rivalry with the United States. How the incoming leadership chooses to manage further the expansion of Chinese economic and security interests has huge implications for the rest of the world. If the incoming Party leadership fails to prevent widening political rifts in China’s political system (including the People’s Liberation Army, PLA), foreign policy could take on an even more assertive tone, complicating international cooperation with China on issues of international security.

China’s expanding peacekeeping role

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has increased its participation in a broadening array of multilateral security arrangements in recent years. One of the most high-profile aspects of this trend is the dramatic expansion in Chinese peacekeeping deployments (of civilian police, military observers, engineering battalions and medical units) to UN operations: since 2000, when China deployed fewer than 100 peacekeepers, there has been a dramatic 20-fold increase in its contributions.

Why humanitarian assistance needs rigorous evaluation

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the Financial Tracking Service (FTS), the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in 2017 rose to 141.1 million and they were located in 37 countries. The Global Humanitarian Appeal stood at nearly $13 billion as of November 2017, which represented 58 per cent of the total fund target set for humanitarian assistance.