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China’s diplomatic outreach to Latin America: The growing influence and strategic mobility of Beijing’s ambassadors

Creutzfeldt, B. (2022). Working Paper N°5. Center for China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Universidad del Pacífico. https://cechap.up.edu.pe/wp-content/uploads/Working-Paper-Nro5-Benjamin-Creutzfeldt.pdf

China’s diplomatic outreach to Latin America: The growing influence and strategic mobility of Beijing’s ambassadors

China has become a leading force in global politics, and its diplomatic activity has gained prominence and earned greater scrutiny from foreign governments and scholars alike. This paper explores the extension and evolving capacities of Beijing’s diplomatic network with a focus on Latin America, illustrating this through the biographical profiles of individual ambassadors. It makes evident that although China’s loans and investments in Latin America have slowed drastically since 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced global travel and exchanges, and despite a heightened sense of competition between the traditional hegemon and the rising Asian power, Beijing’s diplomats have built a reputation of goodwill and accessibility that makes large swaths of the political and economic elite of the region feel at ease. The ideologically driven competition between the United States and China is far less divisive in the Latin American region, and a focus on the “softer” skills of bilateral relationship-building honed by diplomatic envoys offers new perspectives on future dynamics.

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