THE IMPLICATIONS OF CHINA’S APPLICATION OF ITS VIEWS ON SOVEREIGNTY TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Coghlan, James J.
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Despite efforts to codify a new conception of sovereignty limited by international law and norms, China has retained the traditional view of sovereignty that gives it absolute control within its territory and prohibits all external interference. Given China’s growing role as a power in the region and world, it is important to comprehend their views in order to understand how they will factor into disputes with other nations and organizations and potentially predict when they may occur. In this thesis, I will examine how China applies their conception of sovereignty to its dealings with other nations, both when they challenge China’s sovereignty and in how China goes about negotiating with them, and international organizations, specifically when these organizations create policies that may infringe on a nation’s sovereignty. Given the growing number, size and importance of international organizations, it is important to understand China’s reaction to them when they pursue policies to restrict sovereignty through international governance. Chapter 1 examines China’s reactions to three growing trends of international governance spurred by these organizations and finds that even if they run counter to China’s views China does not use is using its position in these organizations to counter these trends. Next I examine how the central role of the principle of non-interference sovereignty and how China applies this both when China perceive its sovereignty threatened and in its negotiations. Chapter 2 compares how China handles issues with transboundary resources, which they consider a sovereign matter, to other nations and finds that they use the principle of irredentism to lay claim over exclusive rights to these resources. Chapter 3 examines what implications China’s application of its non-interference policy may have in negotiations by looking at the relationship between China’s foreign development aid to Africa and potential resources extraction and finds that because of their application of this principle, China feels justified in targeting its aid at resource-rich countries with the goal of extracting resources.