China's foreign policy dilemma

International relations China

This paper argues that foreign policy will not be a top priority of China's new leaders because they must focus on immense domestic problems. Therefore Chinese foreign policy can be expected to be reactive. This may have serious consequences because of the potentially explosive nature of two of China's most pressing foreign policy challenges: how to decrease tensions with Japan and with Southeast Asian states over diverse territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.

Key findings:

  • Foreign policy will not be a priority of China's new leaders.
  • Regional stability is at risk if China's new leaders merely react as events unfold, as has too often been the case in recent years.
  • Xi Jinping will strive toward constructive relations with the United States.
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