Tarasova D.A.

PRAGMATIC FRIENDSHIP OF CHINA AND EAST TIMOR, ITS PREREQUISITES AND POSSIBLE PERSPECTIVES

Abstract:

This article is devoted to cooperation between the People's Republic of China and East Timor (Timor-Leste) as part of Chinese cultural and economic expansion to Southeast Asia. There're a number of reasons for this kind of support, including traditional backup for Timor's independence, China's desire to diversify its energy sources and gain new markets for Chinese goods; consolidate its status as an important partner of the Community of Portu-guese Language Countries and to prevent the possible growing influence of Taiwan (the Republic of China). Eco-nomically, China for Timor-Leste means cheap imports and potential exports; while Timor remains the base for many projects of Chinese businessmen ever since its getting independence, despite the crisis of 2006. This coopera-tion leads to impact on other significant actors in the region, such as Indonesia and Australia, which also support Timor, as well as the United States; which oppose the expansion of Beijing's influence in this geostrategically im-portant area. The example of Timor-Leste also illustrates the growing sophistication of Chinese diplomacy and its commitment to using soft power as a counter to the obsolete perception of China as a threat that prevailed earlier in Southeast Asia. In conclusion, if Timorese oil reserves run low, cooperation between two states can be slightly transformed from economic to military; however, the radical changes in Timor's foreign policy, which struggled for their independence for so long, are unlikely.

About the autors:

Daria Alexandrovna Tarasova, post-graduate student, National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod

Place of employment:

National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod

Contacts:

e-mail: daria.tarasovaz@yandex.ru

Key words:

China; East Timor; Lusophone Commonwealth; Southeast Asia; Australia; Indonesia; strategic cooperation; economic expansion