ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки

1. Beijing's Growing Presence and Influence in Africa

China's presence in Africa has been the topic of numerous discussions and forums of political scientists, economists and mili-tary experts from various countries for a number of years now. Re-cently, China's actions on the African continent have drawn particularly close attention in the geo-political arena.

The beginning of the development of modern relations between China and African countries can be considered April 1955, when the Conference of 29 countries of Asia and Africa was held in Ban-dung (Indonesia). During it, China’s Prime Minister Zhou Enlai met for the first time with the leaders of African states (Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Sudan, Libe-ria and Ghana). After the conference, China intensi-fied contacts with the countries of the continent, and on May 30, 1956, a joint communique was signed with Egypt on the establishment of diplo-matic relations, which became the first African and Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with China [6, p. 84-91].

China began to actively penetrate Africa in the late 1950s. For the first time, the special ser-vices of the Celestial Empire were no-ticed on this continent during the Franco-Algerian war. Since 1958, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been secretly helping the National Liberation Front of Algeria (Front de libe ration nationale / FLN). In March - April 1959, one of the leaders of the Chi-nese Communist Party (CCP), Liu Shaoqi, received the leaders of the Algerian rebels in Beijing, and China began to generously sponsor the FLN mem-bers with weapons and money. In October 1960, the PRC officially announced the provision of aid to Algeria, which gained independence from France in 1962 and in the 1960s, became China's main base for expanding its influence in Africa [8].

The further development of China's relations with the countries of the continent was impeded by the difficult international situation prevailing at that time, as well as the beginning of the "Cultural Revolution" in the PRC (1966-1976). China was in a state of confrontation with the Western countries (accordingly, it could not establish relations with African regimes loyal to them), but at the same time, relations with the Soviet Union (and, there-fore, with regimes loyal to it) also deteriorated sig-nificantly [6, p. 84-91].

Opening up and reform in 1979 was a water-shed in PRC’s foreign policy as well as Chinese his-tory. Beijing needed to adjust to its shift in econom-ic focus, and thus began to create a favorable inter-national environment for its domestic economic construction, which became the main goal of its for-eign policy. By then all African countries had gained their national independence and they were facing the same task of having to develop their economy [123, p. 26]. The absence of China's colonial past contributes to the deve-lopment of Sino-African re-lations, in which economic interests are given prior-ity. It is reflected in the postulate "prosperity first" or "first growth, then rights", which implies the ex-ercise of economic, social and cultural rights over civil-political rights [58, p. 133].

Over the past few years, China has gradually strengthened its economic presence in North Africa (NA) through trade, investment, and infrastructure projects. Beijing is intensifying its relations with the countries of the region on a bilateral, multilat-eral basis, in particular within the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) [98].

CASCF, established in 2004, is an official initi-ative between China and Arab League countries, which aims at dialogue, cooperation, peace and de-velopment [80]. China and the Arab countries have established a strategic partnership of all-round co-operation and joint development through the CASCF, which has become an important platform for collective dialogue and pragmatic cooperation between the two sides [67].

FOCAC was established in October 2000 at the first Ministerial Conference in Beijing as a mul-tilateral platform for exchange and cooperation between China and 53 out of 54 African countries that have formal diplomatic relationships with Chi-na [88, p. 5]. FOCAC, which meets every three years leading to a three-year action plan (overseen by a monitoring committee) bilaterally between China and African countries, provides an alternative to traditional deve-lopment assistance mechanisms and is part of the growing trend of South-South cooperation [108, p. 1; 37, p. 1]. The FOCAC part-nership has one pre-condition for cooperation with African countries - adherence to the principle of the "One China" policy, which implies the rejection of formal political relations or contacts with Taiwan as a sovereign state [72, p. 11]. The adoption of the “Beijing Consensus”1 by African leaders is driven by the attractiveness of Beijing's soft power: a long his-tory of friendly ties, the provision of valuable, “unconditional” financial and technical assistance to both elites and those most in need, and increased trade between the world's largest developing country and the continent with the most develop-ing countries [55, p. 2].

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении