Title: Decade of Shifting of Economic Diplomacy
Author: Zhang Xiaotong & Wang Hongyu
Press: New World Press
Economic diplomacy can be traced back several thousand years. In China’s Warring States Period (475-221BC), Su Qin, one of the most famous political strategists of the time, managed to persuade six warring states to forge an alliance against the most powerful state, Qin (秦), by offering gifts and financial incentives. In the History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides mentions a trade boycott imposed by Athens against Sparta’s ally Megara. It was an act of economic diplomacy. In modern times, the first consuls of Spain, France, Britain and others, and even of the old city states of Geneva and Venice, were no more than trade delegates for their countries, paid and protected by the sovereigns of their day. They were economic diplomats in early times.
In contemporary times, there are more cases of economic diplomacy as a result of rivalry between powers and the rise of regionalism and globalization. The Marshall Plan after the Second World War was a large-scale operation of economic diplomacy, which revitalized Europe and strengthened the transatlantic relationship. The great integration adventure of the European Coal and Steel Community and later the European Community were perfect
examples of economic diplomacy, using economic means for the purposes of political reconciliation and long-lasting peace in Europe, which is an unprecedented accomplishment in human history.
China is a great user of economic diplomacy. Economic means have been used for political and strategic purposes, or the other way round. As diplomacy is a synthesis of a leader’s characteristics, bureaucratic organization and a nation’s comprehensive strength, economic diplomacy is no exception. China’s economic diplomacy strategies varied under different leaderships from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. China’s economic diplomacy is a gold mine for academic research.
Economic diplomacy is not a field exclusive to diplomats and policymakers only. It is equally relevant in public affairs and events, in which everybody is a stakeholder; for example, it is prominent in anti-dumping cases, where thousands of jobs are at stake. But in reality, there is a dislocation between policy-makers’ actions and scholarly research.
This book provides a panoramic view of China’s economic diplomacy during President Hu Jintao’s two terms (2002-2012). It is aimed not only at scholars and professionals, but also at a general readership, since we believe that economic diplomacy touches on many interests. It has become a subject of general debate and a topic for those in ivory towers or political and intellectual elite. China also provides a case study in economic diplomacy in general. This book serves as a tour guide, leading you through the labyrinth of the interplay between economics, politics and diplomacy.