‘Stood Up, Grew Rich and Now Is Growing Strong’: An Introduction to the Historical Stages of China’s Foreign Policy

Relaciones Internacionales 91 (2), 1-23, 2018

28 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019

See all articles by Mayra Velez-Serrano

Mayra Velez-Serrano

University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras

Date Written: November 20, 2018

Abstract

How can one describe China's current foreign policy? Is it entering a new period or is it a continuation of previous policies? In order to answer these questions, one must understand China’ Guiding Principles of Foreign Policy; since they refer to the main sources for understanding China's perception of the world, its identity and the concrete actions to be taken in face of such perceptions. By analysing primary documents, including speeches, white papers and secondary documents, this paper proposes that the contemporary Chinese foreign policy (since 1949) has undergone three distinct stages. Each stage is characterized by an overall view of the world context and China’s strategy to obtain its objectives given this context. The first stage, which covers the period in which Mao Zedong was in power, is characterized by an international activism but also by pure survival pragmatism with the goal of strengthening China. The second stage, which begins with Deng Xiaoping and ends with Hu Jintao, is defined as introverted period, reluctant to draw attention or pursuing leadership with the goal of economic growth. While the last stage which begins with Xi Jinping, it differentiates itself by a greater assertiveness, confidence and willingness to take leadership before the international system, however this period has carry on many of the same Guiding Principles adopted during the previous stage.

Keywords: China, Chinese foreign policy, guiding principles of foreign policy, Chinese history

Suggested Citation

Velez-Serrano, Mayra, ‘Stood Up, Grew Rich and Now Is Growing Strong’: An Introduction to the Historical Stages of China’s Foreign Policy (November 20, 2018). Relaciones Internacionales 91 (2), 1-23, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3373829 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3373829

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