Author: Linda Jakobson.
The increasingly multi-faceted engagement of China in Africa is part of China's growing global reach. Chinese diplomats strive to promote an image of a peacefully rising power, whereas Chinese businessmen seek natural resources and export markets. As a result, those responsible for Chinese foreign policy strategic thinking struggle to accommodate the needs of this diverse group of actors in Africa, well aware that as a major power, Beijing is expected to address international crisis. In Washington and Brussels, China is criticized for its support of despotic African regimes and its aid programs ‘with no strings attached’. In Sudan, in particular, China's credibility as a responsible nation is questioned. This article provides a concise overview of China's evolving diplomacy toward Africa, highlighting the Sino-Sudan relationship, with the aim of shedding light on the drivers and constraints on Beijing's motives and actions on the African continent. The article assesses some of the implications of Beijing's policy choices in Africa for its international relations.