Discussion Papers

UP CIDS DISCUSSION PAPER 2019-05

China's Foreign Policy in Xi’s Era: Change and Continuity

Author

Program

Meiting Li

Strategic Studies Program

Summary

One of the most notable foreign policy decisions China has made under the leadership of Xi Jinping was the Belt and Road Initiative, which has spanned the entire Eurasian continent and Africa. In addition, the world is also seeing a more powerful China with increasing proactiveness in key aspects of international life under Xi, characterizing a new generation of Chinese leadership. Xiʼs proactive approach in the international stage is in accordance with his vision of Chinaʼs rise to the center of global economic life and in playing a bigger role in global governance. To better understand and explain China’s series of bold foreign policy moves under Xi, this study seeks to explore what the Xi administration has inherited from the previous Chinese leaderships and where it has deviated in terms of foreign policy decision-making and instruments of implementation. It goes further to explore the possible rationale behind such continuity and change. It argues that it is the interplay of both the external and internal sources of Chinaʼs foreign policy that has contributed to explaining the change and continuity in Chinaʼs foreign policy under the Xi administration.

Keywords

Foreign policy, Xi Jinping, proactiveness, change, continuity