China’s Soft Power Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt


The paper analyses the new geo-political and geo-economic strategic relationship between China and Southeast Asia. Is Chinese soft power encroachment into Southeast Asia creating greater stability, does it jeopardize US interests and what is the impact on the regime-types, economic restructuring, and the state-civil society relationship?

The paper is divided into four parts. The first explores the historical and especially the contemporary changes in China’s geo-economic bilateral relationship with Southeast Asia through its bilateral trade, the role of FDI, the role of the ethnic Chinese Diaspora, and other political and economic factors. The second focuses on China’s role in the new emerging geo-political relations on a multilateral scale through new regional security, military and politico-economic institutions. The third part contains a brief exposure of shifting US bilateral and multilateral interests in the region - both geo-economic and geo-political; however the bulk of this section is devoted to a comparison of the differences and similarities of US and Chinese approaches in Southeast Asia. Finally some concluding remarks are offered.


globalisation, regionalism, bilateralism, diaspora, usa, china, southeast asia

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Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
ISSN (print): 1395-4199, ISSN (online): 2246-2163

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