Thursday, December 27, 2012

China As Global Mediator

When the Chinese government decided to appoint a special envoy to the Middle East a decade ago, China's concerns about the peace process there became evident. Whether China's mediation efforts contradict its longstanding principle of non-interference in internal affairs is of special interest as China becomes more deeply involved in the resolution of regional and international conflicts, indicating its emergence as a mediator. Since the Arab Spring last year, China has used its veto power several times in the United Nations Security Council and played a constructive role in the mediation of the ongoing crisis in Syria. China has contributed a peacekeeping medical team in southern Lebanon and remains one of the six parties involved in the talks on the Iranian nuclear issue. Because of the size of China's economy and its growing influence around the world, the once-isolated country has evolved as global mediator, seeking governance necessary for its own development. China was quick to urge the Syrian government and all parties concerned to halt the violence. China's former practice was to call for restraint from the parties and for peaceful resolution through dialogue-- not to take action. Mediation is now consistent with China's continuing role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which means it can no longer do nothing. This includes efforts in the Korean Peninsula and Africa, as well. China has been relatively absent from contemporary international mediation initiatives since the current republic's founding in 1949. However, it is now driven by increasing international stature, coupled with intensification of unresolved and newly emerging conflicts that threaten world security. See story -