China’s Geopolitical Sphere of Influence in the Near Abroad
Abstract: This article attempts to reveal China’s current geopolitical position in regards to strategic areas of influence outside of its own territory. This text examines China’s increasing influence during the last few decades and how that increasing impact is derived from the field of classical geopolitical theories from the 1st half of the 20th century, such as the theory of Heartland (H. Mackinder), the theory of Heartland-Rimland (N. J. Spykman) and geostrategic thoughts developed by A. T. Mahan. Although these approaches are sometimes criticized for their inapplicability now, the author of this article tries to find some aspects of these theories, which could be applied to the current position of foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China. This article raises the question: how deeply is China able to spread its geopolitical infl uence to the near abroad. Also, is China able to become a naval superpower in years to come, given that it has historically been a continental power. This research examines the case of the Great Mekong subregion, especially Burma and the case of Pakistan.
Keywords: China, South and Southeast Asia, Geopolitics, Geostrategic, Sphere of influence