Chinese Foreign Policy in African Energy Engagement and the WTO: A Realpolitik Perspective

Ian Sean Ko


Despite signs of China’s increasing involvement in global affairs and institutions, which some scholars have perceived as ‘integration’ into the status quo, there are still areas of Chinese foreign policy which are seemingly characterised by a traditional realpolitik mentality. This essay, using a realpolitik framework, examines two key areas: that of energy security, focusing particularly on Sino-African oil policy, and that of China’s engagement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Specific studies of Sudan and the TRIPS Agreement respectively support the proposition that key aspects of Chinese foreign policy are still dominated by a realpolitik philosophy. It is clear that China’s foreign policy should not be generalised as purely ‘integrative’, when there may exist even further key elements which are likewise realpolitik-orientated.


China; International Relations; Realpolitik; Oil; WTO; Sudan; TRIPS


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