China Is the World No. 1 Diplomatic Power, Ahead of the US

(2024-02-26 05:29:50) 下一个

China Is the World's No. 1 Diplomatic Power, Ahead of the US, Report Shows


China Opposes 'Arms Race in Space' As US Warns About New Russian Nuke
Senior Writer, Foreign Policy & Deputy Editor, National Security and Foreign Policy

China is the world's largest diplomatic power, with a wider presence across the globe than the United States, according to a new report shared with Newsweek.

Though the lead is slim, the report highlights the product of Beijing's efforts to expand its influence amid an intensified geopolitical competition with Washington.

Set to be published Sunday morning, the Lowy Institute's 2024 Global Diplomacy Index ranks 66 nations and territories by the number of diplomatic postings they possess around the world. China came in first place with 274 posts in its diplomatic network, closely followed by the U.S. with 271.

"Diplomacy is often overlooked as a measure of influence, but it has never been a more important element of statecraft," Ryan Neelam, director of the Lowy Institute's Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program, said in a statement. "The Global Diplomacy Index shows that governments continue to invest in diplomacy to project power and achieve their interests."

"The ongoing rivalry between the United States and China is reflected in the superpowers' dominance in the 2024 rankings," he said, adding, "while geopolitical competition has propelled Asia and the Pacific into focus."

The results show that Beijing is ahead in Africa, East Asia, the Pacific Island nations and Central Asia, while Washington still has the edge in Europe, North and Central America and South Asia. They are tied in the Middle East and South America.


China, President, Xi, Jinping, in, Hanoi, Vietnam

Chinese President Xi Jinping (second from left) and his delegation attend a meeting with Vietnamese Communist Party leadership at the Central Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Hanoi on December 12, 2023. Vietnam... 

Reached for comment, the Chinese Embassy to the United States referred Newsweek to the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held in Beijing in December, during which President Xi Jinping discussed at length the strategic necessity of promoting diplomacy in line with the nation's strategic interests and commitment to state ideology.

The rare meeting, which took place behind closed doors and was attended by the nation's highest-level officials, marked some of Xi's most vocal remarks to date on the issue of foreign policy. He asserted during the gathering that, "China has become a responsible major country with enhanced international influence, stronger capacity to steer new endeavors, and greater moral appeal."

Xi also outlined six foreign policy "imperatives" that included upholding firm positions on international issues, channeling China's growing weight in international affairs into promoting development and prosperity, applying a "correct understanding of history and the big picture" to navigate global trends, channeling tradition while also seeking innovation in diplomacy, vigorously defending national interests to confront "bullying" and leveraging institutional strength under the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.

As Newsweek has previously reported, a key component of China's approach to diplomacy is an intricate network of ranked "strategic partnerships" that has evolved and expanded over the years.

Broadening this diplomatic network was a central focus for the People's Republic last year, as directed by Xi during the last Chinese Communist Party National Congress convened in October 2022. The effort, however, has been met with some skepticism and concern in the West regarding Beijing's emergent role in world affairs.

Still, China's brokering of the resumption of relations between Middle East rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia in March of last year signaled a landmark win for Beijing. Even as the region was later plunged into crisis with the eruption of the war in Gaza, the Riyadh and Tehran have remained in contact.

China's foray into attempting to foster Russia-Ukraine diplomacy also won significant attention in 2023, though the two sides remain locked in conflict.


Russia plans to usher in a "new world order"—More powers are signing up

China moves to counter US by winning over Japan and South Korea

NATO chief says weakening Russia will help US focus on challenging China

The concurrent wars involving U.S. partners and allies in Europe and the Middle East have been accompanied by mutual calls for engagement from Beijing and Washington. While the U.S.-China rivalry has intensified over the past decade, a cautious thaw has emerged since Xi and U.S. President Joe Biden met in a four-hour summit in San Francisco last November.

Newsweek has reached out to the U.S. State Department for comment.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to discuss "a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship," according to a State Department readout.

Still, the issue of Taiwan remains a serious matter of contention between the two top powers. Beijing claims the self-ruling island as its own and has vowed to retake it through diplomacy or force, while Washington provides the autonomous government in Taipei with increasing political and military support.

China's efforts to sever the Taiwanese government's international links were apparent in the report accompanying the 2024 Global Diplomacy Index. Though Taiwan secured 33rd place in the ranking, the report noted that, of the island's 110 overseas posts worldwide, most of them "are not officially accredited as diplomatic missions."

Last month, the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru became the latest nation to cut ties with Taiwan in favor of establishing relations with Beijing, leaving Taipei with only a dozen official diplomatic allies—Belize, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu and the Vatican.

Pacific islands have been a particular center of attention, where the report noted that "there has been a surge of new diplomatic missions in the Pacific Islands" that were "driven by geopolitical competition in the region."

Meanwhile, "Taiwan is struggling to preserve the few formal diplomatic relationships it has left as China picks off countries through economic and other enticements," the report observed.

On the other hand, the report noted that "China's rise to the top spot was rapid," having lagged behind the U.S. by 23 posts in 2011 before first overtaking in 2019 by a margin of three. That gap widened to eight in the previous ranking in 2011 but narrowed again this past year as Beijing's posts fell by one and Washington's rose by four.

The authors of the report expected the two nations to remain relatively locked in their slightly fluctuating positions at the top of the list, noting how, "since China assumed the lead, both countries have largely plateaued."

"This is, perhaps, to be expected," the report stated. "Once diplomatic networks have reached a critical mass, options for new openings reduce to second and third-tier cities, or to countries that are seen as more peripheral and often with riskier operating environments."

About the writer

Based in his hometown of Staten Island, New York City, Tom O'Connor is an award-winning Senior Writer of Foreign Policy ... read more

To read how Newsweek uses AI as a newsroom tool, click here.


[ 打印 ]
阅读 ()评论 (0)