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Role of Public Diplomacy amidst U.S.-China Soft Power Competition
Published November 1, 2022
Publication Source: IFANS
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“Great-power competition” is back in the lexicon of world politics. Sino-American rivalry is spilling over to the realm of values, taking the form of soft power competition. Public diplomacy, propped up with soft power resources, is increasingly employed as an instrumental toolkit for great powers’ geopolitical contention. The ongoing surge of great-power public diplomacy competition has been deepening global confrontation and conflicts, eroding chances for cooperation on imminent global issues.

In this era of great-power competition, what are, and should be, the roles of non-great power public diplomacy? Is it nothing but an instrument for advancing a country’s parochial national interests, thereby deteriorating global conflict and confrontation? Are there any ways for non-great power public diplomacy to undercut the deepening geopolitical conflict and confrontation? Raising these questions about the role of public diplomacy, this paper points to a sociocultural nature of today’s geopolitics. And against this backdrop, some notable characteristics of recent American and Chinese public diplomacy practices will be identified. Then, we draw comparative implications from their practices and discuss several issues for South Korea’s policy considerations.

This paper was published by IFANS. IFANS retains the copyright to this paper and invites readers to share and cite the work with attribution to both the author(s) and IFANS