China has beaten the US in the number of diplomatic posts. The foreign affairs ministry of Beijing has been running more embassies and consulates worldwide in comparison to the State Department of Washington. Washington’s State Department still has a quarter of its important positions unfilled.
The size and reach of 61 diplomatic networks globally by embassies, consulates, permanent missions, and other diplomatic posts are mapped by the 2019 Lowy global diplomatic index.
It tracked all the G20 and OECD countries and most of the Asian countries. It showed emerging China is numerically at least beating the US caught “in a period of limbo”.
China has 276 posts and 96 consulates. They are 3 more in comparison to the US. As for consulates, the US has 88 of them, 8 short of China.
Research fellow, Bonnie Bley, said, “The US remains the global hub for diplomatic activity. It is – by a wide margin – the most important place for countries to locate their diplomatic posts … China … is a distant second.”
China is expanding its diplomatic position, having 5 more posts in the past two years.
As for the US, its diplomatic activity has shrunk. Bley said, “Instead, President Trump’s abrupt abandonment of multilateral initiatives – the trans-Pacific partnership, the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement – is a greater threat to enduring US diplomatic influence.”