China’s diplomatic outreach to Latin America: The growing influence and strategic mobility of Beijing’s ambassadors
Along with China’s rising influence in global affairs, its diplomatic activity has gained prominence and earned greater scrutiny from foreign governments and scholars alike. However, in contrast to the size of the country’s economy, the scale of its overseas investments and its commercial relationships or the relative capabilities of its military forces, China’s diplomatic efforts are harder to measure. The extension and growing capacities of Beijing’s diplomatic network represent crucial measures to better comprehend China’s global reach. There have been efforts to quantify and qualify China’s public diplomacy more broadly (Custer et al. 2019), as well as studies on the professionalization of the diplomatic service over time (Martin 2021), but the role of China’s diplomats in the evolution of the country’s international relations has not been studied or mapped in any coherent detail. The US government has called for the creation of wide-ranging databases on governmental and educational connections between China and other regions of the world (USCC 2021) with a particular interest in Latin American countries (ibid.: 70; see also Padilla & Guzmán 2022; Ellis 2022: 18). The present working paper addresses this dimension of China’s global presence, and outlines here some insights into the diplomatic dynamic in combination with a presentation of the Universidad del Pacífico’s nascent online database of Chinese ambassadors to Latin America.
- Centro de Estudios sobre China y Asia-Pacífico de la Universidad del Pacífico