China is one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world, with a population of over 1.4 billion people and a GDP of over 14 trillion dollars. China has also been expanding its global presence and influence through trade, investment, diplomacy, and military cooperation. But who are China’s friends in the world? Which countries have the closest and most positive relations with China?
Top 10 Friends of China
Here is a list of the top 10 countries that love China, based on their political, economic, and cultural ties with Beijing.
Pakistan is often considered China’s “all-weather friend” and “iron brother”. The two countries have a long history of close cooperation since the 1950s, especially in the fields of defense, infrastructure, energy, and trade. Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of Chinese aid and investment, especially under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Pakistan also supports China’s position on issues such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. In return, China provides Pakistan with diplomatic, military, and economic assistance, especially in its rivalry with India.
Russia is another major strategic partner of China, especially in countering the influence and interests of the United States and its allies. The two countries have developed a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination since the 1990s, which covers political, economic, military, and cultural cooperation. Russia and China share common views on many international issues, such as Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. They also conduct regular joint military exercises and coordinate their positions in multilateral forums such as the UN Security Council, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the BRICS group. Russia is also an important source of energy and weapons for China.
3. North Korea
North Korea is one of China’s oldest and most loyal allies in Asia. The two countries fought together in the Korean War (1950-1953) against the United States and its allies, and signed a mutual defense treaty in 1961. China has been North Korea’s main economic lifeline and political protector for decades, providing it with food, fuel, trade, and diplomatic support. China has also been involved in the negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program, trying to balance its interests between maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula and preventing a nuclear war.
Iran is another key partner of China in the Middle East and beyond. The two countries have established a strategic partnership since 2016, which aims to enhance their cooperation in various fields such as trade, energy, infrastructure, defense, and culture. Iran is one of the largest oil suppliers for China, and also a potential market for Chinese goods and services. China is also one of the signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities. China has opposed the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and has continued to support Iran’s economic development.
Cambodia is one of China’s best friends in Southeast Asia. Prime Minister Hun Sen was the first foreign leader to visit China after the pandemic began in 2020, and Cambodia has staunchly stood by China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. Cambodia has also benefited from China’s generous aid and investment, especially under the BRI framework. China has built roads, bridges, dams, ports, airports, power plants, and other infrastructure projects in Cambodia, as well as provided loans, grants, scholarships, vaccines, and military equipment. Cambodia has also aligned itself with China in regional organizations such as ASEAN.
Laos is another close friend of China in Southeast Asia. The two countries share a common ideology of socialism and a long border along the Mekong River. Laos has also embraced China’s BRI initiative enthusiastically, hoping to transform itself from a landlocked to a land-linked country through Chinese-funded railways, highways, and other connectivity projects.. Laos also supports China’s position on regional and international issues such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. China, in turn, provides Laos with economic, technical, and military assistance, as well as cultural and educational exchanges.
Cuba is one of China’s oldest friends in Latin America and the Caribbean. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1960, the first socialist country to do so after the Cuban Revolution. Cuba and China have maintained a solid political and ideological alliance ever since, supporting each other in the face of US hostility and sanctions. Cuba is also one of the few countries that recognize Taiwan as part of China. China has provided Cuba with economic, medical, and humanitarian aid, as well as trade, investment, and tourism opportunities. China has also helped Cuba develop its biotechnology, telecommunications, and renewable energy sectors.
Venezuela is another important ally of China in Latin America and the Caribbean. The two countries have developed a comprehensive strategic partnership since 2001, which focuses on energy, trade, finance, infrastructure, and military cooperation. Venezuela is one of the largest oil exporters to China, and also a major recipient of Chinese loans, investment, and aid. China has supported Venezuela’s socialist government led by Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, despite the political and economic crisis that has plagued the country since 2014. China has also opposed the US sanctions and intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Serbia is one of China’s closest friends in Europe. The two countries have established a strategic partnership since 2009, which covers political, economic, cultural, and security cooperation. Serbia is one of the few European countries that does not recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, which aligns with China’s position on territorial integrity and sovereignty. Serbia is also a key partner of China’s BRI initiative in Europe, hosting several Chinese-funded infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, railways, and power plants. Serbia has also expressed gratitude to China for its medical and vaccine assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angola is one of China’s most important friends in Africa. The two countries have established a strategic partnership since 2010, which involves political, economic, social, and military cooperation. Angola is one of the largest oil suppliers for China, and also a major destination for Chinese investment, trade, and aid. China has helped Angola rebuild its war-torn country through financing and constructing roads, hospitals, schools, stadiums, and other public facilities. Angola has also supported China’s position on issues such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
China has many friends around the world, who share its interests, values, or vision for a multipolar and more equitable global order. These countries have benefited from China’s economic development, diplomatic support, and cultural exchanges. They have also stood by China in times of difficulty and challenge. However, these friendships are not without problems or risks. Some of them are based on pragmatic or opportunistic considerations rather than genuine trust or respect. Some of them are subject to external pressures or internal changes that may affect their stability or durability. Some of them may also entail costs or responsibilities that may outweigh their benefits or rewards. Therefore, China needs to manage its friendships carefully and wisely, balancing its own interests with those of its friends, and avoiding conflicts or misunderstandings that may harm its reputation or influence.
Most Wanted Questions and Answers
Q: Which country is China’s best friend?
A: There is no definitive answer to this question, as different countries may have different criteria or indicators to measure their friendship with China. However, based on the above list, Pakistan may be considered as China’s best friend, given its long-standing and all-weather relationship with Beijing.
Q: Which country is China’s worst enemy?
A: Again, there is no definitive answer to this question, as different countries may have different reasons or motivations to oppose or challenge China. However, based on the current situation, the United States may be considered as China’s worst enemy, given its strategic rivalry and competition with Beijing across various domains.
Q: Which country is the most dependent on China?
A: This question may have different answers depending on the aspect or dimension of dependence. For example, some countries may be more dependent on China for trade or investment, while others may be more dependent on China for aid or security. Based on the above list, North Korea may be considered as the most dependent on China overall, as it relies on Beijing for almost everything from food to fuel to protection.
Q: Which country is the least dependent on China?
A: This question may also have different answers depending on the aspect or dimension of dependence. For example, some countries may have more diversified or balanced relations with other partners besides China, while others may have more autonomy or leverage in dealing with Beijing. Based on the above list, Russia may be considered as the least dependent on China overall, as it has its own sources of power and influence in the world.
Q: Which country has the most similar culture to China?
A: According to the Country Similarity Index, which ranks countries based on their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography, Taiwan is the most similar country to China. However, China is also similar to Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, which are all East Asian countries that share some common historical, cultural, and linguistic influences with China. Additionally, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are often considered as similar to China in terms of their food, religion, or ethnic diversity.