The foreign policy of Xi Jinping concerns the policies of the People's Republic of China's Xi Jinping with respect to other nations. Xi became the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012 and became the President of the People's Republic of China in 2013.

Xi has reportedly taken a hard-line on security issues as well as foreign affairs, projecting a more nationalistic and assertive China on the world stage.[1] His political program calls for a China more united and confident of its own value system and political structure.[2] Xi Jinping's "Major Country Diplomacy" (Chinese: 大国外交) doctrine has replaced the earlier Deng Xiaoping era slogan of "keep a low profile" (Chinese: 韬光养晦) and has legitimized a more active role for China on the world stage, particularly with regards to reform of the international order, engaging in open ideological competition with the West, and assuming a greater responsibility for global affairs in accordance with China's rising power and status.[3] Xi has advocated for diplomats to adopt a more assertive style, commonly expressed as Wolf warrior diplomacy.

In setting foreign policy, Xi favors an approach of baseline thinking, in which China explicitly states red line that other countries must not cross. In the Chinese perspective, taking tough positions on these matters reduces strategic uncertainty.


Xi takes a strong personal interest in foreign affairs.[4]: 14  In his first five years in office, Xi flew over 350,000 miles, visited five continents, and gave over one hundred speeches to foreign audiences.[4]: 14–15  In doing so, he became the first Chinese leader to outpace his American presidential counterparts in foreign travel.[4]: 15  Xi's extensive schedule of phone and video foreign meetings as part of his "cloud diplomacy" (云外交) received prominent attention in Chinese media, similar to in-person foreign visits.[4]: 15 

Xi has overseen a shift towards a Chinese foreign policy which, as contrasted with the approaches of Chinese leaders since Deng Xiaoping, is more assertive in acting proactively rather than reacting, and more willing to forcefully assert national interests rather than compromise them.[4]: 78  Xi states that the "primary theme of China's foreign policy should be the striving for achievements, moving forward along with time changes, and acting more proactively."[4]: 85  Xi calls on diplomats to demonstrate a fighting spirit, which has been expressed in the form of wolf warrior diplomacy.[4]: 79 

During the Xi Jinping era, the Community of Shared Future for Mankind has become China's most important foreign relations formulation.[5]: 6 

Xi advocates "baseline thinking" in China's foreign policy: setting explicit red lines that other countries must not cross.[4]: 86  In the Chinese perspective, these tough stances on baseline issues reduce strategic uncertainty, preventing other nations from misjudging China's positions or underestimating China's resolve in asserting what it perceives to be in its national interest.[4]: 86 

Before 2017, Xi stated that China should participate in forming a new global order.[4]: 240  This position changed in 2017, when Xi articulated the "Two Guidances": (1) China should guide the global community in building a more just and reasonable world order, and (2) that China should guide the global community in safeguarding international security.[4]: 240 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, China engaged in mask diplomacy, a practice facilitated by its early success in responding to the pandemic.[4]: 90  Chinese ownership of much of the global medical supply chain enhanced its ability to send doctors and medical equipment to suffering countries.[4]: 90  China soon followed its mask diplomacy with vaccine diplomacy.[4]: 90  China's infection rates were sufficiently low that it could send vaccines abroad without domestic objections.[4]: 90  Academic Suisheng Zhao writes that "[j]ust by showing up and helping plug the colossal gaps in the global supply, China gained ground."[4]: 90 

In the Xi era, China takes the position that unilateral economic restrictions and trade discrimination are impermissible measures for countries to use in achieving foreign policy goals and has positioned itself generally as a proponent of global free trade.[6]: 16  In his January 2021 speech during the Davos Economic Forum, Xi called for abandonment of deliberate decoupling and the use of sanctions, stating that maintaining a commitment to diplomacy and a multilateral trade regime were important.[6]: 16–17 

Taiwan (Republic of China)

See also: One-China policy and Cross-Strait relations

Xi states that reunification with Taiwan should occur peacefully because that is "most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots."[7] In a speech at the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi stated:[8]

Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward “Taiwan independence,” and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Xi has also said that unification under a "one country, two systems" approach would be appropriate.[7]

In 2021, American think tank Council on Foreign Relations described Xi's position on Taiwan as continuing consistent with China's 1979 shift from "liberation" of Taiwan to "peaceful unification" with Taiwan.[8]


See also: Sino-African relations and Africa–China economic relations

During Xi's administration, China has maintained cordial relationships with each Africa government except Eswatini, which recognizes Taiwan but not the PRC.[5] Xi's diplomatic rhetoric links the China-Africa Community of Shared Future to the concept of the Chinese Dream.[5]: 21  Although Xi has generally prioritized relations between the Communist Party of China and political parties in the Global South, Xi has especially prioritized such party-to-party relations in Africa.[5]: 85 


United States

Xi giving a speech at the U.S. Department of State in 2012, with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then Vice-president Joe Biden in the background. Seated in the front row is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

See also: China–United States relations

Xi has called China–United States relations in the contemporary world a "new type of great-power relations", a phrase the Obama administration had been reluctant to embrace.[9] Under his administration the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that began under Hu Jintao has continued. On China–U.S. relations, Xi said, "If [China and the United States] are in confrontation, it would surely spell disaster for both countries".[10] Xi has described relations between China and United States in terms of the Thucydides Trap, a term first used by political scientist Graham Allison, meaning that in a clash between two great powers that could otherwise cooperate for the benefit of humanity, all would lose.[11]: 54 

'The U.S. has been critical of Chinese actions in the South China Sea.[9] In 2014, Chinese hackers compromised the computer system of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management,[12] resulting in the theft of approximately 22 million personnel records handled by the office.[13]

Xi has indirectly spoken out critically on the U.S. "strategic pivot" to Asia.[14] Addressing a regional conference in Shanghai on 21 May 2014, he called on Asian countries to unite and forge a way together, rather than get involved with third party powers, seen as a reference to the United States. "Matters in Asia ultimately must be taken care of by Asians. Asia's problems ultimately must be resolved by Asians and Asia's security ultimately must be protected by Asians", he told the conference.[15]

In spite of what seemed to be a tumultuous start to Xi Jinping's leadership vis-à-vis the United States, on 13 May 2017 Xi said at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing: "We should foster a new type of international relations featuring 'win-win cooperation', and we should forge a partnership of dialogue with no confrontation, and a partnership of friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity; respect each other's development path and its social systems, and respect each other's core interests and major concerns... What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious coexistence."[16]



Xi with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 23 January 2016

See also: China–Iran relations

On 4 June 2019, Xi told the Russian news agency TASS that he was "worried" about the current tensions between the U.S. and Iran.[17] He later told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani during an SCO meeting that China would promote ties with Iran regardless of developments from the Gulf of Oman incident.[18]


See also: China–Japan relations

China–Japan relations have soured under Xi's administration; the most thorny issue between the two countries remains the dispute over the Senkaku islands, which China calls Diaoyu. In response to Japan's continued robust stance on the issue, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone in November 2013.[19][20]


See also: China–North Korea relations and China–South Korea relations

Under Xi, China has also taken a more critical stance on North Korea, while improving relationships with South Korea.[21]

Starting in 2017, China's relationship with South Korea soured over the THAAD purchase of the latter[22] while China's relations with North Korea increased because of meetings between Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.[23] At the G20 meeting in Japan, Xi called for a "timely easing" of sanctions imposed on North Korea.[24]


See also: China–Vietnam relations

On December 12, 2023, Vietnam and China announced 36 cooperation agreements during a visit by Xi to Vietnam.[25] The agreements addressed a variety of issues, including cross-border rail development, digital infrastructure, and establishing joint patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin and a hotline to handle South China Sea fishing incidents.[25] The two countries also issued a joint statement to support building a community of shared future for humankind.[25]


Xi with the first lady during the Moscow Victory Day Parade on 9 May 2015


See also: China–Russia relations

Xi has cultivated stronger relations with Russia, particularly in the wake of the Ukraine crisis of 2014. He seems to have developed a strong personal relationship with President Vladimir Putin. Both are viewed as strong leaders with a nationalist orientation who are not afraid to assert themselves against Western interests.[26] Xi attended the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[27] Under Xi, China signed a $400 billion gas deal with Russia; China has also become Russia's largest trading partner.[28]

See also


  1. ^ Kuhn, Robert Lawrence (6 June 2013). "Xi Jinping, a nationalist and a reformer". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  2. ^ Meng, Angela (6 September 2014). "Xi Jinping rules out Western-style political reform for China". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen N. (16 February 2021). "China's "Major Country Diplomacy"". Foreign Policy Analysis. doi:10.1093/fpa/orab002. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Zhao, Suisheng (2023). The Dragon Roars Back: Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. doi:10.1515/9781503634152. ISBN 978-1-5036-3088-8. OCLC 1331741429.
  5. ^ a b c d Shinn, David H.; Eisenman, Joshua (2023). China's Relations with Africa: a New Era of Strategic Engagement. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-21001-0.
  6. ^ a b Korolev, Alexander S. (2023). "Political and Economic Security in Multipolar Eurasia". China and Eurasian Powers in a Multipolar World Order 2.0: Security, Diplomacy, Economy and Cyberspace. Mher Sahakyan. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-003-35258-7. OCLC 1353290533.
  7. ^ a b "China-Taiwan tensions: Xi Jinping says 'reunification' must be fulfilled - BBC News". BBC News. 2022-07-25. Archived from the original on 2022-07-25. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  8. ^ a b "What Xi Jinping's Major Speech Means For Taiwan". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  9. ^ a b Hiroyuki, Akita (22 July 2014). "A new kind of 'great power relationship'? No thanks, Obama subtly tells China". Nikkei Asian Review. Archived from the original on 2014-11-11. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  10. ^ Ng, Teddy; Kwong, Man-ki (9 July 2014). "President Xi Jinping warns of disaster if Sino-US relations sour". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  11. ^ Gnerre, Orazio Maria (2023). "Strengthening of the Sino-Russian Partnership". China and Eurasian Powers in a Multipolar World Order 2.0: Security, Diplomacy, Economy and Cyberspace. Mher Sahakyan. New York. ISBN 978-1-003-35258-7. OCLC 1353290533.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Perez, Evan (24 August 2017). "FBI arrests Chinese national connected to malware used in OPM data breach". CNN. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  13. ^ Nakashima, Ellen (9 July 2015). "Hacks of OPM databases compromised 22.1 million people, federal authorities say". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  14. ^ Blanchard, Ben (3 July 2014). "With one eye on Washington, China plots its own Asia 'pivot'". Reuters. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
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  17. ^ "Xi worried as 'extreme' US pressure on Iran raises tensions". Al Jazeera. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  18. ^ Martina, Michael (June 14, 2019). "Xi says China will promote steady ties with Iran". Reuters. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Osawa, Jun (17 December 2013). "China's ADIZ over the East China Sea: A "Great Wall in the Sky"?". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  20. ^ Chiang, Min-Hua (1 December 2019). "Contemporary China-Japan Relations: the Politically Driven Economic Linkage". East Asia. 36 (4): 271–290. doi:10.1007/s12140-019-09321-x. ISSN 1874-6284. S2CID 211466918.
  21. ^ Li, Cheng (26 September 2014). "A New Type of Major Power Relationship?". The Brookings Institution (Interview). Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  22. ^ Huang, Cary (2017-04-02). "Why China's economic jabs at South Korea are self-defeating". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  23. ^ Shi, Jiangtao; Chan, Minnie; Zheng, Sarah (2018-03-27). "Kim's visit evidence China, North Korea remain allies, analysts say". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  24. ^ Lee, Jeong-ho (2019-07-02). "Xi calls for 'timely' easing of North Korea sanctions after Trump-Kim meeting". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  25. ^ a b c Guarascio, Francesco; Vu, Khanh; Nguyen, Phuong (December 12, 2023). "Vietnam Boosts China Ties as 'Bamboo Diplomacy' Follows US Upgrade". Reuters. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  26. ^ Baker, Peter (8 November 2014). "As Russia Draws Closer to China, U.S. Faces a New Challenge". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
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  28. ^ Røseth, Tom (2017). "Russia's energy relations with China: passing the strategic threshold?". Eurasian Geography and Economics. Routledge. 58 (1): 23–55. doi:10.1080/15387216.2017.1304229. S2CID 157616488.