By: Didi Kirsten Tatlow

What is the kernel of the issue?

Chinese diplomacy has increasingly taken on a coercive nature, with “wolf warrior” diplomats using aggressive rhetoric and China employing tactics such as sanctions, tourism bans, arbitrary detentions, and threats to pressure nations, often smaller nations, into acquiescing to Chinese demands.  

Why is the issue important?

China employs a “divide and conquer” strategy in Europe and elsewhere, leveraging its often-coercive diplomacy to weaken coalitions of like-minded states and pressure them into positions favorable to China. The often-small states being coerced frequently do not have the diplomatic or economic strength to resist such measures. 

What is the recommendation?

To push back against coercive Chinese diplomacy, the Biden administration should work with the United States’ allies and partners to establish a “coercion against one is a coercion against all” policy. This policy would enable more robust collective responses to aggressive Chinese diplomacy and enable smaller states to more effectively resist harmful Chinese actions.