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
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.