It has been a momentous year for Beijing. Twelve months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its relations with the West have become more strained than ever. And after President Xi Jinping secured an unprecedented third term in office at the 20th Party Congress, the country has embarked on a chaotic exit from the Covid lockdown amid hopes the economy will rebound quickly.
Some are already asking if Beijing will set a course correction in its diplomatic priorities to spare itself some of the setbacks it incurred in 2022. But when it comes to foreign affairs, China’s priorities rarely change.
The Chinese leadership seeks to create a stable external environment to allow its domestic economic development. This conservative maxim was adopted in the 1980s by Deng Xiaoping, and President Xi is likely to follow it as a time-honoured recipe for diplomatic reconciliation.