By Professor Odd Arne Westad, Director of LSE IDEAS and Head of the Programme for East Asia International Affairs.
Xi is, above all else, pragmatic. He’s not expected to do anything that would endanger China’s continued economic growth. China’s gross domestic product has multiplied 30 times over since 1990, and even if its year-on- year growth is now slowing, it is still by far the fastest growing of the world’s large economies. Therein lies the new leadership’s foreign policy challenge. China’s goal in its relations with the outside world is to get the most for China. China has no overriding foreign policy strategy. Nor is it even a viable policy, unless the country’s aim is to antagonize its neighbours.