Resource politics and diplomacy beyond the European Union: China, Australia and South Africa

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GR:EEN Working Paper Series
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The material transformation of the Chinese economy is forcing a concomitant process of political adjustment, and not just in China. Other states are being forced to accommodate the ‘rise of China’. In this context this paper does two things. First, it presents a comparative analysis of China’s impact on two countries -Australia and South Africa- which have little in common other than a wealth of natural resources and a possible status as middle powers. This is a particularly useful exercise because theses states are geographically distant and have very different political structures and general developmental histories and they provide important example of the new resource diplomacy beyond the EU. Second, we consider how China’s bilateral ties look from a Chinese perspective in these two very different relationships. Such an analysis reminds us that resource dependency is a two-way street. We argue that underlying material realities are constraining and to some extent determining the domestic and foreign policies of three very different states that otherwise have little in common.