Beyond territory: China’s ‘Zhoubian’ (peripheral) diplomacy in the South China Sea


This briefing from UK think tank the Foreign Policy Centre looks at how to better understand China’s recent diplomacy and actions in the South China Sea.

China’s actions in the South China Sea have become increasingly visible and forceful in the last couple of years, and appear to be marking an assertive and self-confident turn in Chinese foreign policy. Whilst seen from Beijing’s perspective as being simply an attempt to re-gain lost territory, for its regional neighbours China’s behaviour is regarded as belligerent and aggressive, and a source of ever-mounting friction. Better appreciating the nuances of China’s ‘zhoubian’ (peripheral) diplomacy – in particular from the perspective of East Asia’s largest power – has never been timelier for politicians, analysts and other actors across the world.

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