The following infographic by Global Times, which was brought to our attention by CFR’s Elizabeth Economy, details China’s complex and multi-layered matrix of diplomatic partnerships. Generally speaking, China maintains a four-tiered classification system that includes cooperative, comprehensive cooperative, strategic, and comprehensive strategic partnerships. But as indicated below, there are several exceptions to this framework. China refrains from describing its relations with Japan, the United States, or North Korea as “partnerships” and others (Jamaica, for example) are in leagues of their own.
During his recent Latin American tour, Chinese President Xi Jinping promoted Argentina and Venezuela from “strategic” to “comprehensive strategic” partnerships. Brazil and Mexico were upgraded in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Peru and Chile, two of China’s top trade partners in the region, still have only “strategic” partnerships with China.