The international profile of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has grown significantly over the last half decade, with a notable increase in the frequency and complexity of its activities with partners abroad. As the Chinese military participates in multilateral meetings and engages foreign militaries around the world, it is strengthening diplomatic relations, building the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) soft power, and learning how to deploy and support military forces for longer periods.
Several aspects of the PLA’s military diplomacy remain relatively understudied. What are the PLA’s objectives in conducting military diplomacy? Which partners does the PLA interact with most? What trends are evident in the pace and type of activities the PLA carries out? Which aspects of PLA military diplomacy should concern U.S. policymakers, and which present opportunities?