Timor-Leste e China: Novas Amizades

The Asian Studies WWW Monitor:  May 2009, Vol. 16, No. 7 (297)
26 May 2009

Timor-Leste: The Dragon’s Newest Friend

Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC), Paris,
France / Bangkok, Thailand

Supplied note:
“Timor-Leste: The Dragon’s Newest Friend – By Loro Horta. IRASEC
Discussion Papers no. 4, May 2009.

On May 20, 2002 Timor-Leste became an independent and sovereign
state. China became the first country to establish diplomatic
relations with the newly established nation and has since maintained
a growing presence on the island.

Three main factors have driven Beijing’s policy towards East Timor:
Firstly, China’s growing engagement with Timor-Leste is part of its
overall expansion into Southeast Asia and its strategy to balance the
United States’ influence in the region. Secondly, Timor is likely to
become an ASEAN member in 2012 which adds further incentives. The
country’s potentially large oil and gas reserves are unlikely to have
gone unnoticed to an energy- thirsty China. Thirdly, China remains
preoccupied with the possibility of Taiwan co-opting the fledging
state into its camp. While the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC)
presence in Timor pales in comparison to its presence in other
Southeast Asian countries, it has grown rapidly and in a very short
period of time. From a position of marginality in Timor’s affairs
just five years ago, China has grown to become a major player in the
territory causing some apprehension in Australia which tends to view
Timor as its exclusive patch.

The author:
Loro Horta is a graduate of Peoples Liberation Army National Defense
University (PLANDU). Previous to his Chinese education he was
educated in Australia, the United States and Singapore. His […
writings] on the Chinese military and other China related topics have
been published by the Military Review, Australian Army Journal,
Strategic Analysis the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, Washington D.C, and Yale Magazine.”

“China has made substantial diplomatic gains in Timor-Leste at a very
modest material cost; patience and sophisticated diplomacy had
allowed Beijing to emerge in the eyes of the Timorese as a committed
and much needed friend. The case of Timor-Leste also illustrates the
increasing sophistication of Chinese diplomacy and its ability to
utilize soft power as a counter to the ‘China threat theory’ which
was so prevalent in the 1990s in Southeast Asia. The case of
Timor-Leste therefore may be an indicator of future Chinese
diplomatic strategy in the Third world as it tries to secure vital
interests such as energy resources and markets.”

Site contents:
* Introduction; * A brief history of Sino-Timorese relations; * The
energy sector; * Defense and Military Cooperation; * Infrastructure
development; * Technical cooperation; * Putting things into
perspective; * China and other powers; * Patience is a virtue; *

[A PDF document, approx. 100KB strong – ed.]


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