Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

European and Chinese Involvement in the Darfur and Iran Crises

26 Jan 2009 - 13:28

Great Powers and International Conflict Management


The emergence of China in international politics leads to a fundamental change in great power involvement in conflict management and security diplomacy. While Sino-American relations in international security are closely scrutinised, the security relationship between China and Europe is still a little explored topic. This security paper discusses the relationship between China and Europe in the sphere of international conflict management by focusing on the cases of Sudan and Iran.

Does the growing influence of China lead to a weakening of Europe's role? What is the potential for cooperation between Europe and China in conflict management and security diplomacy?

The cases in this security paper suggest that China's growing influence restricts Europe's influence, both within specific countries such as Iran and Sudan, and in the general debate on norms for global governance. China's rise does not end the close relationship between Europe and the United States, but Europe is no longer the only major partner for the U S in dealing with regional security crises in the Middle East and Africa.

Wherever Europe and China have significant interests as well as influence they are bound to play a prominent role in international conflict management.

For the time being their relationship in regional conflict management is likely to be characterised by a mixture of cooperation and rivalry. A Sino-European partnership can work out in two ways. First, the two sides can be complementary. While one side puts pressure on the local government, the other side acts as mediator. The second form of a partnership is China and Europe both acting as mediators.