This chapter argues for a re-examination of common theoretical approaches to China’s socialisation in international relations. I first introduce the debate over China’s rise and argue that studies of the country’s foreign policy have failed to account for a number of important elements. The literature on socialisation has done a great deal in trying to compensate for such shortcomings. However, whilst I acknowledge the merits of such literature, I also find it problematic for two main reasons: first, the literature on normative change is biased in favour of a Western liberal order. Second, the same literature often neglects that China is both the object and subject of socialisation dynamics, for instance via the re-articulation of concepts of state sovereignty and intervention. I elaborate on the second problem by looking at Chinas’ regional forum diplomacy in Africa, focusing on the construction of security narratives via the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). I argue that China’s FOCAC diplomacy is based on a discourse that frames China and Africa as friends and allies in the common struggle against Western hegemony. Chinese decision makers have been able to successfully socialise African leaders into a narrative of South-South cooperation that calls for increased cooperation and legitimises the security-development nexus which is at the heart of Chinese policies. It is by successfully interpellating African decision makers into this discourse that Beijing officials have justified increased ‘interventions’ in peace and security.
Carrozza, Ilaria (2019) China’s Multilateral Diplomacy in Africa: Constructing the Security-Development Nexus, in New Perspectives on China’s Relations with the World. Bristol, England: E-International Relations Publishing (142–158).