Relations between the People's Republic of China and Latin America have gradually expanded from commerce and finance to cover different aspects of security. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview over security cooperation between China and South America. Specifically, it analyses the motivations for security cooperation on both sides and its value added for Sino–South American relations.Design/methodology/approachThe article describes four dimensions of security cooperation between China and South America: functional cooperation, defence diplomacy, long-term cooperation initiatives and arms sales. For each dimension of security cooperation, the main motivations on the two sides are discussed, together with the value added of security cooperation to the “comprehensive and cooperative partnership” China's policy papers on Latin America and the Caribbean have called for.FindingsSecurity and defence considerations have not caused the development of Sino–South American security cooperation. Instead, it were the rapidly growing economic links from the 2000s on that facilitated China's broader political engagement with South America, including in the field of security. There are a number of important motivations that indicate security cooperation between China and South American states will further expand in the future.Practical implicationsSecurity cooperation should not only be practiced as an end in itself but also serve tangible outcomes to reduce insecurity.Originality/valueIn the context of Sino–Latin American relations, security cooperation has received relatively little attention beyond a comparatively small group of pundits despite the fact that military diplomacy has become increasingly important in bolstering China's growing international profile. This article makes an original contribution in discussing four dimensions of security cooperation between China and South America.
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 18, 2021
Keywords: China; South America; Security cooperation; Defence diplomacy