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La Chine et le monde : la politique étrangère chinoise depuis 1949

academic year

Course teacher(s)

Thierry KELLNER (Coordinator)

ECTS credits


Language(s) of instruction


Course content

As early as 1949, because of its population size and territory, history, resources and geographical position, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was considered a major player in international relations. Since Deng Xiaoping launched economic reforms in 1979, its weight in the international system has continued to grow, not only regionally but also globally. In the post-Cold War context, the PRC has become a key player on the international scene. Its capacities have been constantly evolving since the 1980s and its foreign policy has become more assertive since the 2008 international financial crisis under the presidencies of Hu Jintao (2002-2012) and Xi Jinping (since 2013). The orientation of the course is both theoretical but also historical and contemporary international relations. China's foreign relations during the "Cold War" period and thereafter, but also contemporary diplomatic and security issues are examined to identify and explain the objectives of Chinese foreign policy and its implementation from 1949 to the present day. In this framework, the main orientations of Chinese foreign policy are addressed as well as (indicative) themes such as the PRC's relations with the major players in the international system (USSR then Russia, United States, Japan, India, European Union), the deployment of Chinese foreign policy in traditional areas (East Asia, South-East Asia, Indian Sub-Continent), "new areas" (Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, Middle East....) but also the process of formation of foreign policy, the question of the use of force, the development of a major Chinese strategy (with under Xi Jinping, the 'Belt and Road' initiative), the question of the 'Chinese strategic culture', multilateralism and the question of the relationship with international organisations, the question of Taiwan, territorial conflicts, China's new regional diplomacy....

Objectives (and/or specific learning outcomes)

The aim of the course is to enable students to acquire a broad and in-depth knowledge of the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China through the study of its actors, its determinants, its training processes, its objectives and its course since 1949. Particular emphasis is placed on developments since 1979 up to the present day under the presidency of Xi Jinping. The aim is for students to acquire the tools and knowledge necessary to analyse the current foreign policy of the PRC.

Teaching methods and learning activities

- Ex Cathedra Course - Possible conference(s) on specialized themes by guest speaker(s)- In addition, the course is based on one or more required readings of selected books or texts from research in history, political science and the theory of international relations.

References, bibliography, and recommended reading

Compulsory readingCABESTAN, Jean-Pierre, La politique internationale de la Chine : entre intégration et volonté de puissance, 2nd edition, Paris, Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 2015, 640p.

Other information


kellner4@hotmail.com Thierry.Kellner@ulb.ac.be


Method(s) of evaluation

  • Other

Oral examination on teaching, compulsory reading(s), possible conference(s)

Mark calculation method (including weighting of intermediary marks)

- Attendance at the course is compulsory (suspensive of the exam in case of absence without justification).- Final oral exam covering the course, the required reading(s), the possible lecture(s)