Case Studies in Chinese Diplomacy

Author/s (editor/s):

Stuart Harris

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 2007/2 (PDF, 146KB)

Stuart Harris, ‘Case Studies in Chinese Diplomacy’, IR Working Paper 2007/2, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Affairs, The Australian National University, June 2007.

This paper aims to examine China’s changing diplomacy. To do this it considers how China is approaching its diplomacy in a number of specific contexts. The examples chosen to illustrate its more nuanced diplomacy are the US–China relationship; China’s relations with Latin America; the Six-Party-Talks over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions; China’s concerns about energy security and its relations with ‘unsavoury’ regimes; and China’s relations with its neighbours.

It concludes that China has increasingly been making more effective use of traditional diplomatic practices and norms and that this is a positive sign that China is integrating into the international system of states. Part of China’s evident success in its diplomacy, however, has been its unwillingness to use its influence in circumstances where international rules and norms are being breached, such as human rights or nuclear proliferation. This, however, poses problems for much of the rest of the world.

As China is drawn further into the international system, it will face unavoidable choices. While still looking to protect its concept of sovereignty, China has moved towards greater responsiveness to dealing with international problems. It will continue to be seen as falling short, however, in its unwillingness to support intervention as practiced in the West, but it seems likely to continue to slowly adjust its diplomacy as it moves towards becoming a responsible great power.

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