China, if you think everyone’s against you, it’s time to reflect

China, if you think everyone’s against you, it’s time to reflect

  • Beijing’s foreign policy has to take into account challenges from both nuclear-armed neighbours and strategic competitors
  • But it’s time for self reflection on whether ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy is the best response, says Kai He

If you feel as a person that everyone is against you, before blaming others you might want to ask what’s wrong with your behaviour. The same applies to a country. If China feels everyone is against it, it might do best to examine its own foreign policy.As a rising power, China faces more challenges than others on the world stage, not only because its national interests have expanded and been redefined alongside its increasing capabilities, but because of the systemic competition generated by the anarchic international system. Unlike the United States, China is in the most dangerous place in the world, surrounded by nuclear-armed neighbours and strategic competitors.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further strained the relationship between China and the outside world, while the blame game between Beijing and Washington has fuelled strategic tensions between the two countries. A new cold war is looming in the post-pandemic world. China’s territorial disputes with its neighbours have escalated. Sino-Indian relations have plunged since the bloody clash along their Himalayan border. Turbulent waves in the East and South China Seas are rocking China’s relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan. Even before the pandemic, the European Union had labelled China a “systemic rival”.