Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2012

What Friends Are Made Of: Bilateral Linkages and Domestic Drivers of Foreign Policy Alignment with China

Georg Strüver

November 2012

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


With China’s emergence as a global economic and political power, it is commonly assumed that its leadership’s influence in international politics has increased considerably. However, systematic studies of China’s impact on the foreign policy behavior of other states are rare and generally limited to questions regarding economic capabilities and the use of coercive power. This paper seeks to contribute to the literature on China’s global political rise by taking a broader perspective. Drawing on voting data from the UN General Assembly for the last two decades, it explores the plausibility of different explanations for foreign policy similarity: economic, diplomatic and military linkages; domestic institutional similarities; and parallel problem‐solving processes. The logistic regression analyses find that high similarity levels correlate with shared regime characteristics and comparable patterns of sociopolitical globalization. The results further indicate that foreign aid and arms trading seem to help buy support in global politics.