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Ayrault, Li

France-China Relations: From ‘Special’ to ‘Strategic’?

By Wei Shen

28 January 2014

France occupies a special position in China’s foreign policy, due to two important historical events. First, former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders like Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yi, were among the 4,000 young Chinese who studied in France from 1912 to 1927. This page of history has left a strong hallmark on the CCP. Second, fifty years ago, amid the tension of the Cold War, France was the first major power in the West to have full diplomatic relations with China.

In the past five decades, the bilateral relationship has grown fast with joint statements on ‘comprehensive partnership’ in 1997 and ‘strategic partnership’ in 2004, but not without experiencing ups and downs. Is France still the special partner for China as it once was? The 50th anniversary provides both countries a good occasion to reflect and renew Sino-France relations in a changing global order.

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Japan's 'Strategic Diplomacy': Leveraging on ASEAN in 2014

By Kei Koga

2 January 2014

The recent ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo illustrates Japan’s 2013 ‘Strategic Diplomacy’ towards ASEAN. There are also several challenges to sustaining this momentum in Japan-ASEAN relations as we enter the new year.


JAPAN AND ASEAN commemorated 40 years of friendship and cooperation with a Summit Meeting in Tokyo on 14 December 2013, proclaiming in their joint commitment to work “hand in hand, facing regional and global challenges”. Given the current heightened political tension between China and Japan following Beijing’s announcement of its new East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), the Summit was seen as part of Japan’s pursuit of its ‘Strategic Diplomacy’ toward ASEAN in balancing China’s increasing influence in East Asia.

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