How the Chinese have managed to extricate themselves from their isolation of the early 1960s to attain a central position in world affairs must be counted the diplomatic success story of the century. From the outside China’s course may have appeared to be at times erratic (and especially so during the Cultural Revolution) but there was throughout an underlying continuity of outlook and strategy based upon what is now described as ‘Chairman Mao’s revolutionary diplomatic line’. It is precisely this ‘line’, from its origins during the revolution to the present day, which has been the main theme of my book. It is the key to our understanding of the inner rationality of Chinese foreign policy in the past and probably in the future as well.