Economic Statecraft and the Making of Bilateral Relationships: Canada-China and New Zealand-China Interactions Compared

  • Stephen NoakesEmail author
  • Charles Burton


Conventional wisdom would suggest that middle powers, being hyper-attuned to great power politics, can be expected to bandwagon with their traditional allies. In a unipolar world, Canada and New Zealand could thus be expected to play follow-the-leader with the US. However, the rise of China has a confounding effect on the US-led unipolar order and thus on our traditional expectations of American middle power allies as well. In this article, we probe the apparent variation in what we term “strategic value” for China of New Zealand and Canada. While the two hold a great deal in common, we find that the Canadian case is made considerably more complicated by both the range of strategic considerations present, and the potential payoff for China of one in particular—closeness to the US, China’s prime geostrategic rival. These higher stakes in the Canadian case not only make strategic inroads in New Zealand relatively easy for China, but also suggest that Chinese economic policy is selectively sculpted to suit the PRC’s higher strategic purposes.


Canada China New Zealand Economic statecraft Foreign policy 



Research assistance from Lisa Jagoe is acknowledged with gratitude, as are words of guidance on NZ-China relations from Jason Young at the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, and Hirini Kaa, Kaiarahi, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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