Thoughts from the Chairman: Xi Jinping Unveils his Foreign Policy Vision
December 8, 2014
Xi Jinping Unveils his Foreign Policy Vision: Peace Through Strength
By Christopher K. Johnson
On November 29, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote address to a Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference (CFAWC) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the first to be held under his stewardship as China’s top leader. Attending the meeting were all six of Xi’s Politburo Standing Committee colleagues, the rest of the full Politburo, China’s leading foreign policy practitioners, and hundreds of other officials from China’s provincial-level administrations, the military, state-owned enterprises, and the state bureaucracy. CFAWC’s are exceedingly rare, and equally authoritative. For example, judging from publicly available sources, there was only one such meeting during the entire decade-long tenure of Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao. As with so many of Xi’s initiatives during his brief time as party boss, it is noteworthy that he chose to sketch out at least the preliminary outlines of his foreign policy vision after barely two years in office. By contrast, Hu Jintao presided over his one CFAWC after nearly double that amount of time, in 2006. In his speech, Xi laid out a sweeping foreign policy platform, suggesting that, despite the many domestic challenges he and his colleagues are facing at home, a proactive, balanced, and, where necessary, muscular foreign policy approach is likely to be a hallmark of his rule.