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Department of Politics and International Studies

Mrs Sabrina Mondschein van den Bos

BA in Urban Studies (Barnard College, Columbia University), Masters in International Affairs (Columbia University), Master in Public Administration (London School of Economics)


Sabrina Mondschein van den Bos
Mrs Sabrina Mondschein van den Bos
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Thesis title:
New Foreign Policy Actors: A Case-Study of China-Colombia Relations in the Petroleum Industry
Year of Study:
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PhD Research

While China’s engagement in Latin America has animated considerable scholarly and policy literature, the specific relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Colombia bears some fascinating and revealing characteristics that are unique to their bilateral relations and largely overlooked. The existing scholarship on Sino-Latin American relations has tended to group countries into “winners” and “losers”. Colombia's engagement with the People's Republic highlights the limitations of such a binary formulation. Ultimately, Colombia is poised to be a “winner”, but its trade with China remains deeply unbalanced. Beyond its largest export, Colombia has not been able to rely on—or successfully promote—its traditional commodities in its trade with China. In a relationship seemingly entirely driven by trade, how does Colombia engage in foreign policy with China? While some assert that the Colombian government lacks a discernible foreign policy towards China, particularly at the presidential and ministerial level, I posit that in the same way that scholars regard China’s nationally owned companies (NOCs) as “new foreign policy actors” (Jakobson and Knox 2010), Colombia’s state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol, could be considered Colombia’s new foreign policy actor. This then begs the question as to how and in what ways is Ecopetrol an arm of foreign policy? And where do politics trump business in an ostensibly for-profit company that is, ultimately, controlled by the government?


  • Junior Field Research Fellowship, EFEO Centre Beijing