Xi Jinping seeks "lovable" image for China in sign of diplomatic rethink

President Xi Jinping urged Chinese officials to create a “trustworthy, lovable and respectable” image for the country, in a sign that Beijing may be looking to smooth its hard-edged diplomatic approach.

Xi told senior Communist Party leaders on Monday that the country must “make friends extensively, unite the majority and continuously expand its circle of friends with those who understand and are friendly to China,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Beijing needed “a grip on tone” in its communication with the world, and should “be open and confident, but also modest and humble.”

The remarks suggest that Xi may be rethinking his communication strategy on the global stage as President Joe Biden works to bolster US relationships weakened under his predecessor’s “America First” policies. Xi has cast aside the party’s decades-old “hide-and-bide” strategy of keeping a low international profile in favor of a “big country diplomacy.”