China has overtaken US as world’s largest diplomatic power, think tank says

China has overtaken the United States as the country with the most diplomatic posts across the world, a stark indication of Beijing’s growing international ambitions, a new report published by an Australian think tank has revealed.

Published by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute Wednesday, the Global Diplomacy Index is an analysis of the number of embassies and consulates maintained by countries worldwide.

According to the report, China now has 276 diplomatic posts globally, three more than the US. While they have an equal number of embassies, Beijing has more consulates around the world than Washington.”

Broadly speaking, consulates facilitate economic cooperation between countries, whereas embassies nurture political relationships,” said lead researcher Bonnie Bley from the Lowy Institute.”

(The results) suggest that, on a practical level, China’s network of overseas consulates can support the rollout of Beijing’s economic ambitions.”