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China in International Institutions: Challenges and Opportunities for Singapore
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Since China first opened its economy in 1978, it has slowly begun playing a larger role in international institutions. As a country that participates actively in multilateral organizations, Singapore is keenly affected by developments in such institutions. International organizations represent an important avenue for small countries like Singapore to use to pursue national objectives and mitigate inherent geopolitical limitations. An analysis of Chinas recent actions in multilateral institutions that went against Singapores diplomatic and economic objectives shows that Chinas increased participation and influence in these institutions present near-term opportunities for Singapore. Chinas willingness to participate in global activities such as peacekeeping and binding treaties are aligned with Singapores objective of strengthening rules-based institutions to promote stability. Furthermore, Chinas increased involvement in international institutions has corresponded with increased trade and investment for Singapore. Nonetheless, there are underlying challenges for Singapore. Chinas participation in international institutions does not mean that it will favor institutional solutions that go against its own national interests. China will continue to flex its diplomatic and economic muscles to protect those interests. Furthermore, as Chinas economic prowess increases, its ability to shape international institutions will likely grow. Therefore, Singapore will need to adapt as China plays a larger role in international affairs.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE