The approaches that the PRC has taken in its foreign policy since its establishment can be divided into distinct periods. From 1949 to 1979 could be characterized as a period of “revolutionary diplomacy” that strengthened by Mao. The period from 1979 to 2009 could be defined as "development diplomacy." The process that has occurred since 2009 can be described as a more realistic and assertive phase that has coincided with the emergence of China's rise and the sharpening of global competition.

The "aggressive and assertive" approach, which has become particularly visible with Xi Jinping, does not prefer a break from previous diplomatic approaches, but considers a fusion of these two approaches with a more assertive power projection to be more reasonable. In other words, China is equally determined to continue its peaceful rise, but it does not neglect to make a "real observation" about the course of the international environment.

US diplomatic rhetoric sharpens China's rhetoric

The fact that Western flagship media outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, are making big headlines about "Asia's sick man" shows that the perception of past China in the western imagination has resurfaced. At this juncture, discussions on "wolf warrior diplomacy" have begun to be made  regarding the China's recent change in diplomatic language. The diplomatic language, which has generally been used in official texts for the last decade, seems to have taken on a more aggressive tone.

The “wolf-warrior diplomacy” is commonly known as taking a harsh stance against any criticism of China in the name of depending China’s national interests. China on other hand, disagrees. According to Chinese diplomats, where there are diplomatic wolves, such a tendency is perfectly normal for Chinese diplomacy. Some experets see this trend as symbolic of a violent “nationalist turn" under Xi Jinpin’s leaderhsip.

Those who discuss the complexity of world politics and modern geopolitics, on the other hand, argue that Chinese diplomats “acted too soon and sounded too loud” and think that China's well-known strategic patience has been overturned.

“Wolf Warrior or Kung-Fu Panda Diplomacy?”

"China has never chosen to fight or bully others. China has principles and courage and will repulse deliberate actions to resolutely defend its national dignity" said, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, when asked about "warrior wolf diplomacy".

This could be read as a sign that the Chinese foreign ministry supports this trend.

“As long as there are wolves around you, there must be wolf warriors to fight them. When faced with wolves, we must fight vigorously; but when we meet the public, what we show them is a peaceful, cooperative and friendly China" Liu Xiaoming, China's Ambassador to the UK, said.

In recent years, a there has been hardening attitude toward the United States, Australia, and other countries in Chinese diplomacy. By the way, its possible to say that this approach is popular in China. This also marks a shift in diplomacy from a conservatives, passive, and low-profile approach to a more proactive high-profile approach.

The term "Wolf Warrior" actually comes from a very popular movie series in China about Chinese special forces.

On the Chinese side, the names that use this diplomatic language the most and draw attention are Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian from Chinese foreign affairs. In particular, Twitter seems to have an important place in the use of this new diplomatic approach. It is also noteworthy that Xi Jinping has frequently mentioned the "war spirit" in recent years.

Meanwhile, one of the underlying reasons for the emergence and strengthening of this trend is China's belief that Western media has an ideological and prejudiced approach to China. In this respect, it is possible to see warrior-wolf diplomacy as a part of China's effort to “tell the Chinese story”.

However, not all Chinese diplomats accept  this new norm?. Some of them are critical or example, the US ambassador Cui Tiankai did not take the warrior approach and found Zhao's theory that 'US army may have brought the virus' as "crazy". Fu Ying, another senior diplomat, said that Chinese diplomats should "support a spirit of humility and tolerance".

Avoiding the 'fate of war' and the cost of a realistic return

Based on all of these findings, we can conclude that China's already-weak soft power has been weakened even further by its new discursive practice. However, it is possible to argue that biased news in the Western media, which is not based on evidence, contributes to this trend.

China must firmly strike a balance between defending national interests and retaining its soft power. This is a significant challenge. In a situation where the US is constantly surrounding and pressing China on all fronts, the question of how much more room China has to maneuver gains importance.

The Chinese foreign minister's emphasis on the necessity of avoiding a "new cold war" in his statement after the "two sessions" he held each  year is an important sign of the narrowing of the Chinese side's room for manoeuvre. At this point, in the context of global hegemony, Graham Allison's "Destined for War: America and China can Survive Thucydides' Trap?" It is possible to remember the book titled.

In a nutshell, the book defends the thesis that "when a rising power threatens to overthrow the established power, the most likely outcome is war."

Can the two powers avert the "destiny of war"? From this viewpoint, in Thucydides' "The History of Peloponnesian War", "when people go to war, they do things the wrong way. The action comes first, and only when they start to suffer they begin thinking”. From this perspective, the US-China relations are highly dependent and can affect the global economy sensitively through this dependency.

To the extent that the two powers can resist the destruction and damage that the most probable outcome will bring, time will tell if they can create a new cooperation ground where  competition is still exist . However, it seems certain that both US and China are drifting toward a whirlpool that they are not tried very hard to "avoid".

To summarize, rather than saying that China's foreign policy is dominated by a "aggressive approach," we can say that as China's global weight grows, its diplomatic approach is taking a "realist turn" in response to international conditions.