By David Caragliano and Noah Coburn, The Diplomat, 21 April 2015
China’s role as a major player in the field of foreign aid and investment will be on full display at the Asian African Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia this week. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote address at the conference’s Business Summit, with representatives from more than one hundred Asian and African countries. According to AidData, between 2000 and 2012, China committed approximately $83.3 billion to development projects in Africa alone.
How should America and those that share its values respond?
There are legitimate criticisms of China’s approach to development, like a seeming propensity to violate environmental and labor standards. However, China’s ambitions also present an opportunity for America to promote important security interests without compromising on core values. The United States Agency for International Development has piloted “trilateral cooperation” with middle income countries including Brazil, Thailand, India, and Indonesia. The time has come for the world’s two largest economies to think critically about partnerships to further third countries’ development.