Geopolitics and China's rising influence

China is actively gaining leverage and solidifying its influence in areas as diverse as territorial claims, cyberspace, global supply chains, and international organizations like the UN

The "China tale" defies straightforward classification. Is it primarily concerned with commerce, economic growth, and the complexity of the global economy? Or is it a matter of competing moral systems? Or Beijing's attempt to overtake Silicon Valley as the top technical superpower?

It is, in fact, all of the aforementioned. China is actively gaining leverage and solidifying its influence in areas as diverse as territorial claims, cyberspace, global supply chains, and international organizations like the UN as it implements an ambitious new strategy to bring about what its leader Xi Jinping calls "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," an aspiration Xi unveiled in 2012 as he vowed to restore China's past glory.

Beijing's goal, and the basic challenge it presents, is to reshape the principles and norms that characterize the current rules-based international order so that they more closely accord with its own authoritarian system. This order was built by the US over over 80 years. Think about its hostage diplomacy tactics, its disrespect for international law and treaties, and its use of economic pressure in a probable violation of trade regulations.

His desire to recapture land that he believes to be Chinese sovereign territory is the first and most important aspect of his vision of the world as it is according to China. Within the first six to nine months of the epidemic, we witnessed China seek military aggression. That probably surprised a lot of people.

China being the dominating power in the Asia-Pacific region is the second dimension. It involves challenging the US's position as the region's leading military force.

From there, It believes that Xi wants to globalize Chinese policy preferences, beliefs, and interests. The Belt and Road Initiative is the clearest example of this. With the establishment of the first military logistics base in Djibouti, which is fundamentally different from anything China has done before, this project has evolved from being primarily focused on hard infrastructure to something much more, encompassing digital infrastructure, Polar Silk Road, as well as the export of Chinese values and norms.

The fourth component focuses on China's economy, offering a plan for how to make it far more independent while still participating in the global economy. It is the goal of initiatives like Made in China 2025 and dual circulation to ensure that China has a higher level of economic self-sufficiency. Yes, China is still participating in the global economy, but very much on its terms.

The last factor is what Xi Jinping refers to as China's attempts to take the lead in the reform of the system of global governance through BRI. Norms and values must be altered, institutions must be reformed, and international institutions must be brought into line with Chinese values and preferences.

For all this to be happened a peaceful Afghanistan is the key player as it is the gateway of Central Republic States (CARs). Beijing has been concerned about security in Afghanistan for a long time. Beijing was concerned that Uyghur terrorists may use camps in Afghanistan as a base to conduct operations against China during the Taliban's initial rule in the 1990s. Then, in the early 2000s, Chinese employees in the nation were murdered and abducted. China and Afghanistan border each other directly yet distantly, and even before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, China had ample reason to be concerned about the rise in regional violence.

Despite this, China's strategy toward its neighbor for a long time was largely to behave as an observer, leaving security concerns to the United States and its allies, as noted Central Asia scholar Zhao Huasheng put it. That changed in 2012 when Barack Obama, the then-president of the United States, made it clear he intended to end the war he had inherited. Beijing knew it would need to take part in promoting a more secure and developed future for Afghanistan as the possible security vacuum created by Western withdrawal became more apparent. China never completely embraced that position even then, and even when security worries returned following the U.S. pullout in 2021.

Over the past ten years, China has made a clear but steady transition from cultivated apathy to rising commitment in Afghanistan. The visit to Kabul by Politburo member and security chief Zhou Yongkang in September 2012—the first such trip by a Politburo-level Chinese official to Afghanistan since 1966—was the most notable and important manifestation of China's renewed interest in Afghanistan.

China was attempting to push diplomacy with Afghanistan earlier that year and four main security concerns for China are which motivate its involvement in Afghanistan.

China's priority is to guarantee that Afghanistan has a functioning government. The Taliban won't be able to deliver on their security promises to China and other neighbors until there is a functioning administration in Kabul that can exert its influence over the whole nation and retain a monopoly on the use of force. This implies that these nations will be susceptible to possible instability brought on by spillovers across borders. China was first influenced to start talks with the Taliban by the previous administration's incapacity to maintain such control. Although China does not recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government, by allowing them to occupy the Afghanistan embassy in Beijing, China has effectively acknowledged the Taliban.

In order to keep violent radicals from encroaching on its territory, China also needs to make sure that its border with Afghanistan is safe. Afghanistan is depending on the Taliban to do this, but it is also relying on Pakistani and Tajik security measures. China is dependent on both Russia and the CSTO, which has a military station in southern Tajikistan, to maintain its security.

Third, China wants to make sure that the Taliban are prepared to wipe out Uyghur armed organizations that are present within Afghan territory. It must be emphasized that China has overstated the danger posed by Uyghurs and their affiliation with terrorist groups. In China, it has repressed and imprisoned millions of Uyghurs under the threat of Islamic secession.  Taliban officials gave China a guarantee that they would forbid foreign fighters from using Afghanistan as a base to strike China in July 2021, just before the Kabul government fell.

In the months following their takeover, the Taliban showed signs that they were serious about dealing with Uyghur armed groups by allegedly moving them from Badakhshan Province in the northeast (which is close to China's border) to Baghlan and Takhar Provinces in central Afghanistan in an effort to keep an eye on the group's activities. However, there is no proof that any Uyghur militants were handed over to Chinese authorities by Taliban officials. Although this is a fairly tiny number of apparently few hundred warriors, it is unknown if there has been a persistent attempt to relocate or control them following this first shift, or if those maneuvers were reportedly made to curry favor with China.

Last but not least, China wants to safeguard its present investments and nationals who are employed in Afghanistan. The potential investment by China in Afghanistan has been alluded to by both parties, but few specifics have been revealed. This is due to the fact that China simply cannot safeguard its own citizens who are employed there without adequate security.Until two things occur, China will not make significant, long-term investments in Afghanistan. The Taliban must first convince China that they are trustworthy allies. Second, the Taliban must show that they control all acts of violence in that country. The Taliban are currently facing rising threats from IS-K, making it look like this goal will become more and more impossible. Although both the Taliban and the IS-K are Islamist organizations, their objectives are different. The Taliban assert that they are a movement with no ambitions outside of Afghanistan. IS-K wants to establish a worldwide caliphate and has global aspirations.

China is eager to use economic growth as a lure to the Taliban, but it is aware that it obviously holds the upper hand in this relationship. Afghanistan will be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and China intends to "replicate its achievements in Afghanistan" to promote interregional communication. It can "help Afghanistan transform its resource advantage into a development advantage," according to Chinese government officials.

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