Development Assistance in Foreign Strategies of China, the Republic of Korea and Japan

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-12-82-91

A. Fedorovskii, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (,
K. Voda, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (


The article focuses on new trends in development assistance strategies of three Northeast Asian countries: China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. It provides the analysis of key features of China’s contemporary foreign aid strategy which is currently based mainly on economic priorities rather than on ideology. Building on post-reform successes in economic development, Beijing is expanding its assistance to African and Asian countries, thus demonstrating the efficiency of China’s development model. Moreover, China implements foreign aid programs taking into account the individual recipient countries’ priorities and specific features of their economic and social development. The authors gave attention to Beijing’s willingness to use soft power tools for promoting aid programs. However, the active government involvement in formulation and implementation of foreign aid programs, as well as the predominance of commercial interests of Chinese businesses, are among the main characteristics which are negatively perceived by developing states. The article also explores Japan’s contemporary official development assistance (ODA) policies, which have been changing following the transformation of Japanese security and foreign strategy. Although Tokyo’s aid programs in industrial and social spheres are welcomed by developing countries, Japan’s pursuit towards the "normalization" of security and foreign policy is still viewed in some of recipient countries with caution. Although the scale of the Republic of Korea’s ODA is smaller compared to Japan’s and China’s foreign aid programs, its implementation has been relatively successful due to interaction between government, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Whereas in the case of China, rigid control of public activities by the government still hinders comprehensive and multifaceted development of Beijing’s assistance policies. Although the peculiarities of China’s legislature and political system make its foreign aid policies and practices different from Japan’s and Korea’s ODA policies, there are a number of common features. These include attention to developing countries’ priorities and peculiarities of their economic and political development, the acknowledgment of social responsibility of business, and the growing use of soft power tools. Given these circumstances, the collaboration on ODA projects is possible between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. However, in some regions where the interests of these countries meet and contradict, for example, in Southeast Asia, there is a growing rivalry between Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul for presence and influence.


official development assistance, China, Republic of Korea, Japan, Africa, Southeast Asia, support for economic growth, Beijing Consensus 


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For citation:
Fedorovskii A., Voda K. Development Assistance in Foreign Strategies of China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, No 12, pp. 82-91.

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