Foreign Relations of China

Foreign Relations of China

Other Continents

Foreign relations of China represent the diplomatic relations of the People’s Republic of China with other countries.

Economic policy

US-China trade war

US President Donald Trump announced at the beginning of 2018 that tariffs would be imposed on Chinese imports. Trump has stated that the reason for the tariffs is China’s alleged theft of American intellectual property. He also stated that the tariffs would make the United States a “much stronger and much richer” country.


According to polyhobbies, China has invested in many infrastructure projects throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, e.g. in the Eurasian land bridge, the Tanzania-Zambia railway, the railway line connecting the Pakistani cities of Dali and Ruili, or the Gwadar port in the city of Gwádar, also in Pakistan. It also financed Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Port in the city of Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka, which was struggling with a lot of debt. When Sri Lanka defaulted on its loans, China took control of the port for 99 years. The New York Times characterized this as China forcing Sri Lanka to “cough out the port”.


New Silk Road

The New Silk Road is an economic initiative that aims to facilitate trade between countries. The New Silk Road vision includes two main trade routes. The first by land, it copies the ancient Silk Road and leads from China through Central Asia to Europe. The second, a sea route, is to go through the Indian subcontinent, looping around the Bay of Bengal, then across the Indian Ocean to the eastern shores of Africa and on through the Suez Canal to Europe.

North Africa and the Middle East


Israel recognized the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China in 1950, becoming the first country in the Middle East to do so. However, these countries only established relations with each other in 1992. China is Israel’s third largest trading partner worldwide and the largest trading partner in East Asia.


Official relations between Iran and China began in 1937. In July 2019, Iran approved visa-free entry for all Chinese citizens, including citizens of Hong Kong and Macau, becoming the twelfth country whose citizens have visa-free entry to Iran.

Economic relations

During the Cold War, unofficial trade relations existed between Iran and China, which steadily increased over time.

One of the main sectors of the relationship is the petrochemical industry. China switched to oil primarily to shift its energy supply from coal. In 2011, approximately 10% of China’s oil imports came from Iran. Approximately 80% of China’s total imports from Iran are petroleum, with the remainder mineral and chemical products.

UN sanctions against Iran

Initially, Iran did not support the People’s Republic of China’s membership in the United Nations and vetoed it. It was only in 1969 that Iran openly supported the PRC’s membership in the United Nations. Now, Iran is relying on China’s membership and especially China’s veto power in the UN Security Council to protect it from US-led sanctions.

China is known for its preference for diplomacy over sanctions. China (along with Russia) opposes sanctions against Iran. In 1980, China refused to support the UN arms embargo against Iran and further abstained from voting.

It was only in 2010, under pressure from the US, that China joined Russia in supporting these sanctions.


In the 1960s, China supported the demise of Israel and its replacement by Palestine.

China supported the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, announced by Yasser Arafat on 15 November 1988 in Algiers, Algeria, despite the objections of both Israel and the United States. China recognized the new state of Palestine on November 20, 1988 and established full diplomatic relations with it by the end of 1989.

China voted in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, and usually takes positions sympathetic to Palestinian affairs at the UN. In early 2016, at a meeting with the Arab League, President Xi Jinping confirmed China’s support for “the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital “.


Czech Republic

Formal relations were established in 1919 between the then Czechoslovakia and China. Relations deepened thanks to trade and tourism between these countries, especially after the beginning of the 21st century. Czechoslovakia was the first country in Europe to negotiate a treaty with China after the First World War. The first meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries took place at the peace conference in Paris. They agreed here on mutual recognition. In 1919, China recognized the newly established Czechoslovak Republic, but only de facto. Legal recognition took place only eleven years later, in February 1930, when the Czech-Slovak-Chinese Treaty of Friendship and Trade was signed and diplomatic relations were established.

During 2019, Czech-Chinese relations deteriorated. A sister treaty between Prague and Beijing was terminated due to disputes over its political content. Prague subsequently also signed a partnership with Taipei. In response, Shanghai also cut ties with Prague. China also criticized the planned trip of the late President of the Senate, Jaroslav Kubera, to Taiwan. In February 2020, a letter sent by the Chinese embassy to Jaroslav Kuber in mid-January was published. In the letter, which is written in a very non-standard form of diplomatic communication, it said that if Kubera makes the trip to Taiwan, negative political and economic consequences can be expected. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs subsequently told Reuters that it did not know where the information came from.


China has an ally in President Viktor Orbán. He supported the reconstruction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway, which should be financed by a Chinese loan of 2.1 billion dollars. Another Chinese project, which 66% of Hungarians reject, is the Chinese Fudan University in Budapest, which would cost taxpayers $2 billion. The liberal mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, and the mayor of the Ferencváros district, Krisztina Baranyi, have already responded to the plan. In the vicinity of the planned campus, a total of four streets were renamed on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, and are now named Uyghur Martyrs Road and Free Hong Kong Road, others are named after the Dalai Lama or a Catholic bishop imprisoned in China (Joseph Zhang Weizhu). The university campus is to be built by the Chinese State Civil Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), which is suspected of espionage and corruption in a number of countries. Thousands of people protested against the plan on Saturday, June 5 in Budapest.


Relations between China and Germany began in 1861, when it was still between the Qing Empire and Prussia. Sino-German cooperation collapsed in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II in Europe, forcing many Chinese nationals to leave Germany due to increased government surveillance and coercion. After German reunification, relations between Germany and China improved significantly.

Foreign Relations of China