The Ashgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy provides a timely contribution to a growing and very topical body of literature on China's international relations. In over 30 chapters written by a diverse range of contributors, the volume provides one of the most comprehensive overviews of Chinese foreign policy to have recently been published.

The book is conveniently divided into six thematic sections, although the essays are largely independent from each other. The first part investigates different historical and analytical perspectives on Chinese foreign policy, and surveys the main theoretical approaches to the study of China's international relations. The second part looks at the domestic sources of Chinese foreign policy, considering both ideological factors such as nationalism and communism, and material ones such as military power and economic development. Part III focuses on the impact of China's foreign policy, and particularly on how Beijing is able to influence international relations through soft power, cultural diplomacy, the Chinese diaspora and its search for natural resources. Parts IV and V provide an overview of China's relations with other international actors and global regions. Finally, Part VI is a diverse collection of essays on key issues in Chinese foreign policy including, for example, the status of territories such as Taiwan or Tibet, China's participation in international peacekeeping operations, its position in climate change negotiations, the role of the internet and China's space programme.

The volume does not offer an overarching theoretical framework or a coherent and unified approach to the subject, but this is due to the nature of the work rather than any fault of the editor, and in fact it contributes to the richness of the volume. Nevertheless, the concluding chapter by Emilian Kavalski manages to identify some recurring themes which emerge from several of the essays, and particularly a set of important domestic and international variables including nationalism, minorities, economic growth, the ever-present weight of relations with Washington, the Taiwan question and the drive to secure energy resources.

This work seems especially valuable as an introduction to this vast field of studies. More advanced readers may feel that some topics are not treated in enough detail, which would seem largely inevitable given the broad scope of the volume, but they will also appreciate many of the essays for their re-conceptualisation of key issues in China's international relations.