Researchers have seldom focused on the interaction between China’s foreign policymakers and its international relations (IR) academia. Since new policies trigger various responses among scholars, it will help us to watch the diversification process within the academic sphere and see the different ideas behind different schools. Furthermore, observing the debates is an interesting way to gain a better understanding of China’s foreign policy. By comparing the five key diplomatic transitions since 1979 with the five key debates in IR circles during the same period, this article articulates an interaction model between academia and government based on the consistency of ideas. This article also identifies six possible topics that Chinese IR scholars may debate in the future. It forecasts that the influence of certain minority schools of thought on these issues will grow, because policymakers are gradually changing their fundamental ideas.

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