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China’s wolf warrior approach

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

China’s wolf warrior approach:


China’s assertive new diplomatic approach in the Xi Jinping era has come to be dubbed “wolf warrior diplomacy”, marked by a muscular posture in pursuing China’s interests.


What is Wolf Warrior Diplomacy or approach?

  • “Wolf-warrior diplomacy,” named after famous Chinese movies, describes offensives by Chinese diplomat to defend China’s national interests, often in confrontational ways.
  • It reinforces a presumed transition of Chinese diplomacy from conservative, passive, and low-key to assertive, proactive, and high-profile.



In last one year the Chinese foreign ministry has taken an increasingly strident tone against the United States, India, Australia, and other countries.

  • In April last year, Chinese coastguard ship allegedly sank a Vietnamese fishing trawler near the Paracel Islands. When Vietnam protested, the Chinese foreign ministry responded by saying Vietnam’s claims to the area are “illegal.”
  • Then, China announced the naming of 80 islands, reefs, seamounts, shoals, and ridges in the South China Sea, triggering angry protests from other claimants.
  • China also tried to enter India at various places.


Why is China resorting to wolf-warrior diplomacy?

Soaring Nationalism: Since 2010, when China’s GDP overtook Japan’s as the world’s second largest, the Chinese have become more confident and China’s foreign policy has become more assertive.

China as a great power: The latest diplomatic offensive is also part of the official effort to project China as a great power leading the global fight against the COVID-19. China’s image suffered during the crisis due to its bungled handling of the outbreak at the early stage.

With the assertive and ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and Maritime Silk Road, China has consolidated its influence over the Indian neighbours as almost all the neighbour sans Bhutan have shown the keen interests in joining.


How successful has this approach been on the whole?

  1. The wolf-warrior diplomacy is already hurting China’s foreign policy, since it has generated pushback, such as Australia’s calls for an independent probe into the coronavirus’ origins.
  2. China’s soft power is weak globally; a belligerent approach will further damage China’s global image.
  3. Wolf warrior tactics, combined with great military assertiveness on the China-India border, has ended up pushing India much closer to the U.S., and alienating a billion plus-person economy.

Sources: the Hindu.