In 2019, China was the country with the most diplomatic missions, overtaking the U.S. China can now count 276 posts abroad, including 169 embassies, compared with the U.S.’ 273 foreign diplomatic posts, according to the Lowy Institute.
China has built a far-reaching network of diplomatic missions with some located in isolated places like pacific island nations Vanuatu, Micronesia and French Polynesia – the Chinese mission being the only one in the French overseas territory. Other diplomatic posts have recently opened in Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador – all places China wanted to strengthen its ties with because they were doing a lot of business with Taiwan, according to the BBC.
As recently as 2016, China had been in rank 3, with the U.S. and France ahead. In 2019, there were a total of 3,944 embassies, 1,588 consulates and 414 other diplomatic posts in the world, bringing the total count close to 6,000.