SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Mrs Sabrina Mondschein van den Bos

BA (Barnard), MIA (Columbia), MPA (LSE)
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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 and the Third Party Catalysts That Drive Them
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PhD Research

The China­-Colombia relationship began as any other between the People’s Republic of China and the majority of Latin American states in the 21st century as bilateral trade went from zero to multi­billion dollars within a decade. However, despite its apparent successes, the bilateral relationship is largely a story of failure. What appeared to be glaring opportunities for Chinese investment and Colombian development have born little to no fruit. The China Development Bank failed to finance any significant project in a country with a crying need for infrastructure development, Chinese petroleum companies failed to win a single bid for the development of Colombian oil fields and talk of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement proved fruitless. In the wake of these failings, mutual distrust and prejudices abound. Colombia has become a Latin American anomaly for China. Nevertheless, several successes across sectors and industries have revealed that longstanding prejudices and distrust can be overcome with the inclusion of a third party. With every significant success in the China­-Colombia bilateral relationship, a diplomat, businessperson or company from a third country has been involved, providing the means and making safe the path towards closer ties. Often, this third party has not been a neighbour of either country, making the case that greater international involvement—­­rather than regional cohesion—­­was the catalyst for success.


  • Junior Field Research Fellowship, EFEO Centre Beijing