China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
Why would China jeopardize its relationship with the United States, the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, and much of Southeast Asia to sustain the Khmer Rouge and provide hundreds of millions of dollars to postwar Cambodia? Why would China invest so much in small states, such as those at the China-Africa Forum, that offer such small political, economic, and strategic return?
Some scholars assume pragmatic or material concerns drive China’s foreign policy, while others believe the government was once and still is guided by Marxist ideology. Conducting rare interviews with the actual policy makers involved in these decisions, Sophie Richardson locates the true principles driving China’s foreign policy since 1954’s Geneva Conference.
Though they may not be “right” in a moral sense, China’s ideals are based on a clear view of the world and the interaction of the people within it-a philosophy that, even in an era of unprecedented state power, remains tied to the origins of the PRC as an impoverished, undeveloped state. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence& mdash;mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty; nonaggression; noninterference; equality and mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence& mdash;live at the heart of Chinese foreign policy and set the parameters for international action. In this model of state-to-state relations, the practices of extensive diplomatic communication, mutual benefit, and restraint in domestic affairs become crucial to achieving national security and global stability.