This study is concerned with how far globalisation has affected the capacity of China, as a developing nation, to make and implement foreign policy. China's entry into the UN, the Nixon/Kissinger visits, and expanding membership of international institutions, meant that a quantitative expansion of diplomatic links was needed. The reform of China's economy reflected other reasons for diplomatic change in the face of globalisation pressures. These changes led, among other things, to increased bureaucratisation, more skilled officials and more pluralism. The state's power in political relations remains, but its exercise involves increased costs for other objectives, notably modernisation. A substantial cognitive learning process has occurred in the development of China's diplomatic processes and structures.