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US Diplomacy and Diplomats: A Chinese View

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This article presents mainstream views in China about US diplomacy in general and particularly US diplomacy towards China in the twenty-first century. In general, US diplomacy is seen as primacy-seeking, missionary pragmatism, hard power first, with persistent impulsive unilateralism, and only constrained by a disruptive power-sharing domestic political system. Chinese leaders and diplomats tend to favour those American counterparts who can demonstrate pragmatism, appreciation, commitment and professionalism. They believe that China needs to negotiate from a position of strength with normally over-demanding American counterparts, and to pay extraordinary attention to detail in negotiations. While the Chinese held a negative view about the overall diplomacy of US President George W. Bush, they welcomed his pragmatic diplomacy towards China and regarded it as his most positive diplomatic legacy. Although the Chinese have developed a more positive view towards President Obama’s diplomacy, in considering the United States’ persisting desire for primacy, its missionary tradition and highly pluralistic domestic politics, the Chinese are more cautious in embracing the Obama administration’s charm-offense diplomacy than many US allies.

Affiliations: 1: Fudan University Shanghai, 200433 People’s Republic of China, Email:


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