A major leadership transition in China began in November 2012 and was completed at the National People's Congress meetings in Beijing in March 2013.
The activities and comments of new leaders have touched on international affairs, stressing both continuity and a firm approach to China’s 'core interests'.
The new leadership's impact on the country's approach to international affairs will occur in the context of existing policy approaches, which stress China's development. Radical change in policy is therefore unlikely.
International policy is also evolving to respond to developments, including what officials have called 'neo-interventionism' and the need to protect Chinese interests and individuals overseas.
The influence of the post-2008 financial and economic crisis on Chinese thinking about international affairs has been significant, creating more space for Chinese approaches as Western models have been undermined.
Relations with Japan and North Korea's continued nuclear programme pose the most immediate challenges.