• The Academic Herald

Inaugural Lecture dealing with ASEAN and Soft Power now available for download!

The prestigious publishing house of the Royal Academy of Economics and Financial Sciences of Spain has published the inaugural lecture of Dr. Otto F. von Feigenblatt as an Academician.

You can download the full lecture here: ASEAN’s strategic opportunity: soft power and

China’s covid-19 public relations debacle

Abstract: The People’s Republic of China made great strides in terms of increasing

its soft power during the two decades preceding the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Soft diplomatic tactics included soft loans to developing countries,

scholarships, the establishment of Confucius Institutes in universities

located in the Global North, and a very aggressive commercial diplomacy

through a mix of private entrepreneurs and a well equipped consular corps.

The present study focuses on how the COVID-19 Pandemic and the trade

war with the United States has greatly weakened the PRC in terms of soft

power. This weakening provides an important window of opportunity for

regional competitors to attract much needed foreign direct investment.

ASEAN countries are well situated to profit from the PRC’s temporary

soft power deficit but to do so they should follow a multipronged approach

which includes: an expanded consular corps (both career and honorary), an

increase in cultural diplomacy, and greater cooperation with universities in

the Global North. The study concludes that ASEAN can play an important

coordinating role in this much needed global repositioning process.

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