The Foreign Ministry might be the symbol of Chinese diplomacy for many, but the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is playing an equally important role on the global diplomatic stage.
The Party is becoming more active in developing relations with overseas political parties through the CPC Central Committee International Department, said Zhang Zhijun, deputy department head.
"The CPC's diplomatic work is an important component of the country's diplomacy," he said on Tuesday at a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office.
The Party has forged relations with about 400 political parties or organizations in more than 160 countries and regions.
Those parties include Communist or socialist parties as well as right-wing or centrist organizations; and some are in countries that do not have diplomatic relations with China.
Zhang stressed that the CPC does not take into account differences in ideologies or political systems in party diplomacy while striving to establish and develop exchanges and cooperation with foreign parties.
"Such a broad relationship between the CPC and overseas parties helps the country settle some problems where government diplomacy faces challenges," Liu Jiangyong, dean of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, said.
"It also helps promote a better understanding of China and maintain long-term contacts despite frequent power changes," Liu told China Daily.
For instance, when Sino-Japanese ties hit a nadir in 2004 due to Japan's whitewashing of atrocities committed during World War II, the CPC initiated a ruling party exchange mechanism with two rounds of meetings to tackle those thorny problems.
And exchanges between the CPC and the Workers' Party of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) facilitated the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Zhang said.
He said the two parties had regular exchanges in various areas and through diversified channels, and held in-depth discussions on international and regional issues, which have helped maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia and properly settle the nuclear issue.
Zhang said the CPC will become more active in party diplomacy after the 17th national congress, scheduled for October 15.
For instance, the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party, the two major parties in Germany, have invited CPC representatives to attend their upcoming party congresses this year, Zhang said.
And the CPC, on the request of overseas counterparts, has promised to share with them information on the upcoming Party congress soon after its conclusion.