China beats United States to top 2024 Global Diplomacy Index

China has the most expansive diplomatic network in the world, closely followed by the United States, the Lowy Institute’s 2024 Global Diplomacy Index has revealed.

China has a larger diplomatic footprint than the United States in Africa (60:56 posts), East Asia (44:27), the Pacific Islands countries (9:8), and Central Asia (7:6) after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan.

The United States still leads China diplomatically in Europe (78:73), North and Central America (40:24), and South Asia (12:10). Both countries have an equal number of posts in the Middle East (17) and South America (15).

The report shows Taiwan has lost ground to China in their contest for diplomatic recognition, with the recent decision by the Pacific Islands nation of Nauru to switch its allegiances highlighting Beijing’s growing influence.

Australia ranks 26th in the 2024 Index with 124 posts around the world, reflecting Australia’s continued underinvestment in diplomacy relative to its economic weight.

Türkiye and India have expanded their networks the fastest, adding 11 posts each since the last release of the Index in 2021.

Meanwhile, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taken a heavy toll on its diplomatic and intelligence reach, with mass expulsions of Russian diplomats and consulate closures curtailing its global network.

Ryan Neelam, the Director of the Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program at the Lowy Institute, said: “Diplomacy is often overlooked as a measure of influence, but it has never been a more important element of statecraft.

“The Global Diplomacy Index shows that governments continue to invest in diplomacy to project power and achieve their interests.

“The ongoing rivalry between the United States and China is reflected in the superpowers’ dominance in the 2024 rankings, while geopolitical competition has propelled Asia and the Pacific into focus.

“Meanwhile, Australia’s diplomatic footprint is far smaller than its economic power would suggest — South Africa is the only G20 nation with a smaller network.”


  • China and the United States lead the world by the size of their diplomatic networks. China leads in Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific, while the United States has the edge in the Americas, Europe, and South Asia.
  • Taiwan has lost ground against diplomatic rival China, as more countries shift formal recognition to the latter.
  • Middle powers Türkiye and India have added the most posts to their diplomatic networks in recent years, prioritising countries where they have strong strategic and economic connections.
  • Russia’s diplomatic network has declined because of its ongoing war against Ukraine.
  • Japan remains a leading global diplomatic power, with the strongest network of any Asian country apart from China.
  • There has been a surge of new diplomatic missions into the Pacific Islands, driven by geopolitical competition in the region.
  • European cities top the list of the busiest diplomatic capitals. Damascus saw the most embassy re-openings, while Kabul experienced the greatest number of closures.

Explore the Global Diplomacy Index.

Andrew Griffits
Head of Media and Communications