China’s Shifting Foreign Policy

January 19, 2023

President Xi Jinping smiled when he met his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on the margins of last November’s G20 summit in Indonesia. Xi also struck a moderate tone in his remarks and in meetings with several other leaders, especially Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese. Are we seeing a shift in Chinese foreign policy? If so, is it tactical or more strategic? And what is driving it?

The National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, Kurt Campbell, recently suggested that the Chinese have recognized that certain elements of their foreign policy, such as their wolf-warrior diplomacy, have been unsuccessful and, in many respects, have backfired. Other experts speculate that Xi needs to focus attention on addressing mounting domestic economic and pandemic challenges , and consequently needs a more favorable external environment including, in particular, reduced tensions with the United States.

To discuss the factors shaping current Chinese foreign policy and the direction China’s approach to the world is taking, host Bonnie Glaser speaks with Ryan Hass, a senior fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Chen-fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies at the Brookings Institution. 

Episode Highlights:

[1:42] Xi Jinping’s Public Diplomacy at the G20 Summit

[4:30] Qin Gang’s New Approaches

[5:50] Internal & External Pressures on China’s Behavior?

[9:59] China-Australia Relations

[15:32] Allyship & Challenges in Southeast Asia

[18:27] US-China Relations

[23:48] Indicators of Changes to China's Foreign Policy