According to the latest yearly report from a Sydney-based research institute, China has surpassed the U.S. to become the largest diplomatic network globally. The 2019 Lowy Institute’s Global Diplomacy Index was published in the last week and showed China had overtaken to the top position for the first time, remarking Beijing’s increasing international ambitions. The index is a study of the number of consulates and embassies maintained by nations worldwide. The Australian think tank stated that China had 276 diplomatic posts globally, which is just ahead of the U.S. and was found to have 273. The two nations were reported to have the same number of embassies, but China has more consulates worldwide than the U.S.
In the report, Bonnie Bley, Lead Researcher from the Lowy Institute, said, “The climb to the top spot has been quick.” In the last 2 Years, China developed its global network by five diplomatic posts, subsequent to the opening of seven new operations and the conclusion of two others. In 2016, China bagged the third position worldwide, following the U.S. and France, but by 2017, the Asian country moved up to a second-place and surpassed France. In the same time span, the U.S. increased its operations from 271 to 273.
On a similar note, recently it was found that Australia is spending less on its diplomacy than ever before. Almost 10 years ago, the Lowy Institute released a report on the condition of Australia’s political capacity that highlighted a “sobering picture” of strained foreign operations and declining resources. On that Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia, said, “Considering the gigantic continent we occupy, the less population we have and our exclusive geostrategic conditions, our diplomacy needs to be the best in the world.”