Foreign Affairs: It's over, the United States experienced defeat

China has become a central force in global politics, and as U.S. Foreign Affairs reports, it has surpassed the United States in size of its diplomatic network

Source: Tanjug
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Maja Hitij/Staff/Getty images/Ilustracija
Maja Hitij/Staff/Getty images/Ilustracija

For decades, Washington had the largest diplomatic network in the world. Now China does, boasting 276 diplomatic posts—including embassies, consulates, and permanent missions to international organizations. The United States’ network, meanwhile, stands at 273, the newspaper stated.

This shift could mark a turning point in great-power competition.

Where once the United States enjoyed global diplomatic primacy, the playing field is now leveling. Beijing has opened five new embassies in the last two years: in Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gambia, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

While Beijing and Washington are equal in terms of the number of embassies they have, China is unmatched in its number of consulates, with 96 compared to the United States’ 88.

"Whereas embassies reflect political power, consulates reflect economic power. China’s focus on boosting its consulates accords with its ongoing focus on advancing its interests through economic diplomacy over traditional diplomacy", Foreign Affairs concludes.

Of China’s 96 consulates, 41 are located in Asia and 28 in Europe.

This goes hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure push valued in the trillions that seeks to better connect China with these regions.

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