Carnegie-Tsinghua’s Paul Haenle spoke with Peking University’s Wang Yizhou about China’s evolving foreign policy under President Xi Jinping. Their discussion ranged across four main topics: China’s foreign policy challenges, the country's new strategic approach to peripheral diplomacy, its international role, and its contribution to Middle East security.

Professor Wang suggested that China has three major foreign policy challenges: how to guarantee the country’s economic development; how to protect its sovereignty and security; and how to manage China’s growing global interests and responsibilities. Wang also analyzes China’s new strategic approach to the periphery, as articulated by Xi Jinping in an October speech to a CPC work forum. Wang calls this strategy: 硬的更硬,软的更软 (yìng de gèng yìng, ruǎn de gèng ruǎn), or showing kindness by providing public goods and economic assistance, while also being tough in certain areas, with certain countries, and on certain issues issues.

On the Middle East, Wang says in the short run, he sees no possibility of a very active Chinese security role, though Beijing can contribute to international peacekeeping efforts with financial assistance.

Wang Yizhou

Wang Yizhou is the associate dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University and professor of International Politics and Chinese Foreign Affairs. He is also a senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the editor in chief of World Economics and Politics, a CASS magazine published monthly in Chinese.

Paul Haenle

Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolian Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former president George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.