China’s Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference: Implications for PRC Foreign Policy

February 06, 2024
A conversation between Bonnie Glaser and Neil Thomas discussing Xi Jinping's comments during the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held on December 27 and 28, 2023.

On December 27 and 28, 2023, the Communist Party of China held the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs. This was the sixth such meeting – the first one was held way back in 1971. This Foreign Affairs Work Conference was the third held under Xi Jinping’s leadership, with earlier meetings held in 2014 and 2018.

Xi delivered a major speech at the Work Conference, which marks the most comprehensive expression yet of his more activist approach to PRC diplomacy. The speech provides valuable insights into Xi’s assessment of the global balance of power, his vision of the international order, and his views of the role of Chinese diplomacy.

Host Bonnie Glaser is joined by Neil Thomas, a Fellow for Chinese Politics at Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis, where he studies elite politics, political economy, and foreign policy. Previously, he was a Senior Analyst for China and Northeast Asia at Eurasia Group.

Episode Highlights:

[01:32] Historical Significance of Foreign Affairs Work Conference

[07:09] Xi’s Key Messages from the Conference in December

[11:10] Xi’s Concept of the Community of Common Destiny

[15:26] Major Country Diplomacy in Chinese Foreign Policy

[20:03] China’s Diplomacy Going Forward

[23:07] Xi’s Speech to Chinese Ambassadors