Not long ago, China was viewed primarily as a regional actor with a predominant focus on events in its near abroad. In the span of a few short decades, China has established itself as a global actor. It has solidified its role as one of a small handful of countries with interests spanning the globe and the capacity to act on them. China’s presence is now felt in every corner of the world, from the South Pacific to South and Central Asia, the wider Middle East, Latin America, and points in between.
The papers also highlight the strategic calculations informing China’s ambitions, including in its efforts to develop force projection capabilities in the Indian Ocean region, its sensitivity to Afghanistan becoming a bastion of instability with potential spillover effects onto western China, and its efforts to establish its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa. Lastly, in several instances, the papers spotlight uncertainties about whether China will be able to translate bold ambitions into realities.
This collection of papers shows the cost-benefit analyses that countries are navigating as they have entered into partnerships with China.