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PacNet #33 – China’s juggling act: balancing stability and territorial claims

China’s regional diplomacy has a schizophrenic quality. On the one hand, Chinese leaders have resumed their diplomatic charm offensive, with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visiting five Southeast Asian countries in October 2013 and attending a high-level work conference on “periphery diplomacy” which highlighted Beijing’s intention to use “good-neighborliness and friendship” to create a peaceful and stable regional environment. During their travels, President Xi called for a “maritime silk road” to connect China with Southeast Asia, and Premier Li put forward a seven point proposal to deepen cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).