China’s Asia Strategy under President Xi Jinping

Avinash Godbole was Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • May 2015

    China has reoriented its foreign policy strategy since Xi Jinping became president. This could significantly recast China’s relations with Asian countries. The process that began with Xi Jinping’s coming to power in 2012–2013 reached, in a sense, a definitive moment, with the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held in Beijing in November 2014. From an earlier strategy of lying low to the present-day outlook of leading from the front and from a diplomatic strategy centred on great powers to one focusing on neighbourhood, China has come a long way within a relatively short space of time.

    For a long time during its reform era, as China continued to build its economy, its strategic position appeared to have been guided by the famous Deng Xiaoping axiom of ‘hide your strength, bide your time’. In the last two years China seems to have crossed the threshold, having achieved what it feels is adequate power. It is thus no longer biding its time. President Xi has articulated very clearly that China is a different economic power and it is going to use its economic capacity, built over the last 30 years, to create a new kind of Asian regional economic and security architecture.