Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley

Second Committee Member

Ambler H. Moss

Third Committee Member

Roger E. Kanet

Fourth Committee Member

Richard E. Feinberg


China has developed a diplomatic mechanism to expand its international influence through the establishment of strategic partnerships (SPs). These SPs have sparked a debate among analysts. On the one hand, some optimistic studies applaud the win-win objective of China’s foreign policy and portray China as a successful model for developing countries. On the other hand, more skeptical studies depict China as a rising imperial power that represents a competitive threat to Latin America. My dissertation focuses on China’s SPs with four Latin American countries Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela in the oil sector. It stresses how Chinese strategic partnerships with each of these four countries have diverged across cases over time (1991-2015). The study finds that the strategic partnerships are asymmetrical in which China benefits more than four Latin American countries in a variety of aspects. I suggest Latin American countries to push for greater diversification of export agenda toward China, to develop new productive partnerships beyond traditional sectors and to increase the competitiveness of firms. Meanwhile, China’s diplomatic actions toward Latin America are more than likely to result in forms of change, particularly across my four country cases, and where SPs are concerned.


China; Strategic Partnerships; Latin America; Oil Diplomacy