China’s Basic Foreign Policy Objectives

  • Leo Yueh-Yun Liu


Throughout its history, China has regarded itself as the centre of the world. The term ‘Chung-kuo’ (China) itself stands for ‘Middle Kingdom’ or ‘Central Kingdom’, which conveys ‘the sense of a large universe revolving around a primary, directing force’ represented by China.1 Proud of their brilliant culture and historical heritage, the Chinese have regarded their homeland as ‘the centre of the civilised world’. The large territory, population, common language, and Confucian political, ethical, and social values they share, reinforce their ‘great power images’. With the possible exception of India and Japan, no country in Asia could be compared with China, either politically, militarily or culturally. The military as well as cultural superiority and prosperity of the Han (206 b.c. – a.d. 189), T’ang (a.d. 618–905), Ming (a.d. 1368–643), and early Ching (a.d. 1644–700) dynasties further reinforced the Chinese ‘Middle Kingdom’ assumption and China’s presumed influence in Asia. Consequently, China had established around itself a system of tributary states which were expected to be submissive and to pay at least some tribute to China. At any sign of hostility on their part, China was quite prepared to use force to cope with them.


National Interest Intermediate Zone Socialist Country World Politics Tributary State 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Yueh-Yun Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Brandon UniversityCanada

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