How the Diplomatic Visits of Global Leaders Reflect Today’s Complex International Relations?

Shiqi YANG
2 min readMay 1, 2021


We often hear on TV that the leader of a certain country is visiting another country. The purpose for each visit varies. Sometimes it’s because the national leaders are scheduled to head for a foreign city to participate in an international conference like the G20 summit or the APEC conference. Sometime it’s due to some emergency situations which require a bilateral or multilateral meeting to develop solutions.

But in most cases, leaders of the specific two countries meet is mainly to strengthen economic or political cooperation. The more frequent diplomatic visits between the two countries, to some extent, reflect the closer relations between them.

Diplomatic Visits by Leaders of Major Countries Since 2010

In general, the world’s more influential countries maintain relatively close ties with each other, except in the extreme case of North Korea, whose leader has only visited China for four times and South Korea once in a decade.

France is at the centre of the networking graph, with diplomatic ties to almost every country on it. By contrast, those on the fringes or corners of the graph mean that their foreign policy is not comprehensive enough to cover many countries. Brazil, for example, is the second most distant country from the center of the network, after North Korea. It has little intersection with most European countries.

In terms of numbers, the top four countries with the most diplomatic activities are the United Kingdoms, India, France and China, with most arrows coming in and coming out.

If two countries are far apart, it may indicate tension or conflict between them. China is very close to South Korea and Russia both on this map and geographically in reality. However, due to historical reasons, the Chinese leader has not visited Japan in more than a decade, despite the fact that Japan and China are just seperated by a sea. Therefore, Japan is “far away” from China on this map.

Apart from Japan, China has kept its distance from other US Allies such as Australia and India.

Some interesting facts can also be spoted from the network graph. For example, France and Germany are “good friends” as their top leaders have visited each other’s countries nearly 80 times over the last ten years. The King of Saudi Arabia has hosted many leaders, but he himself rarely visited other countries. While Italy shares the opposite situation that its prime minister has went abroad a lot, but received few visits by other leaders.

The 3D Network Graph