Reform of China's Foreign Diplomacy and Its Influence to EU-China Relations

Jing Jing

China's foreign diplomacy is transforming from "Hiding Its Shine" to the proactive "Working Hard and Making a Difference". This paper discusses the impact of such changing identity of China to China-EU relations in this context. Most existing studies on China-EU diplomacy apply a mid-level framework which focuses on bilateral policies. There is a lack of structural perspective which brings in the world system and a micro-perspective which gets down to the dialogues. This paper adopts a combination of top-level and bottom-level perspectives. It argues that as a result of China's proactive diplomacy, the role of the EU's as a normative power to China is being mitigated by China's increasingly normative awareness. The paper firstly discusses China's self-identity in its vision of the future world system based on synthesizing a set of Chinese official discourse including "China Dream", "Democratization of International Relations", "Global Governance", and "Common Destiny of Humankind". It argues that China is determined to restore its status in the world system as one of the core powers. However, China's ambition emphasize primarily on domestic development and boosting the national confidence. Secondly the paper observes the positive correlations between China's improved self-confidence and its increasingly proactive role in China-EU relations. Based on a critical review of the change of normative discourse patterns in the official China-EU discourse, it finds that China is seeking empathy and mutual understanding from the EU with more assuring tones and commissive languages. The EU is longer the absolute normative power in China-EU relations. China-EU relations is entering the stage of a mutually-directive relationship.





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