Category Archives: China

Analytical Framework for Understanding “Soft Power”

In my new article in Asian Perspective Capturing Power Shift in East Asia: Toward an Analytical Framework for Understanding “Soft Power” in Asian Perspective proposes an analytical framework for analyzing soft power that problematizes the rigid soft power/hard power binary. The framework proposes a way to understand soft power and the hard-soft spectrum of behavior that allows for the inclusion of economic power while still drawing a line between hard and soft power, where not all economic power is soft, but nor is it all hard. Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1353/apr.2020.0016 

Mainstream International Relations (IR) theory has problems fully accounting for the regional dynamics of East Asia. This article explores whether the pursuit of soft power—a concept that has been given a prominent position in research on East Asian IR—can provide one piece of the puzzle for understanding East Asia’s regional dynamics. This article proposes an analytical framework for analyzing soft power that problematizes the rigid soft power/hard power binary. The framework proposes a way to understand soft power and the hard-soft spectrum of behavior that allows for the inclusion of economic power while still drawing a line between hard and soft power, where not all economic power is soft, but nor is it all hard. It is argued that to keep the concept of soft power relevant in the East Asian context economic power needs to be included. The line is drawn between economic coercion and economic inducement, arguing that when induced there is still a certain level of freedom as one can choose whether the payments or bribes offered are good enough for it to be worthwhile to change one’s preference and behavior. Coercion, in contrast, utilizes a different dynamic where the point is to force someone to do something they are unwilling to do.

 

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EU-ROK strategic dialogue

On 14 September I participated in the EU-ROK strategic Dialogue organised by the Sofia Security Forum and the Korean Institute for Defence Analysis (KIDA). The Korean and European participants engaged in discussions on a wide range of issues of shared concern, including The dynamics of the security environment in NEA and Perspectives and challenges to the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

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Attedning webinar on “EU–China Relations in an Era of Connectivity”

On 2-3 Sep 2020 I was attending a webinar on “EU–China Relations in an Era of Connectivity”, co-organized by SIPRI and the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

The purpose of the webinars is to explore the extent to which EU–China relations have been evolving and may evolve in an era of connectivity. In particular, the webinars will focus on understanding the economic, political and strategic rationales that underpin connectivity agendas both in China and the EU and will explore pathways for promoting mutual interests.

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Meeting with delegation from the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD)

On 5 August I met with a delegation from the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD) visiting the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

We discussed and exchanged views on, among others, China’s relations with Europe, Sweden and the Nordic countries as well as European security and Europe’s role as a security actor.

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Special Issue: Understanding Power (Shift) in East AsIA

Just published: Special Issue in Asian Perspective on Power, Narratives, and the Role of Third Parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia with Mikael Weissmann and Mingjiang Li as guest editors.

Find the articles on https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/40440/print .

Introduction to the Special Issue [SUBMITTED COPY]
Mikael Weissmann, Mingjiang Li
pp. 215-221
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0008

Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia: The Sino-US Narrative Battle about Leadership in the South China Sea [OPEN ACCESS]
Mikael Weissmann
pp. 223-248
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0009 (Open Access)

China’s “Belt and Road” in Southeast Asia: Constructing the Strategic Narrative in Singapore
Alice D. Ba
pp. 249-272
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0010

China’s Economic Power in Asia: The Belt and Road Initiative and the Local Guangxi Government’s Role
Mingjiang Li
pp. 273-295
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0011

Return to Geopolitics: The Changes in Japanese Strategic Narratives
Hidekazu Sakai
pp. 297-322
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0012

The Relationship between Narratives and Security Practices: Pushing the Boundaries of Military Instruments in Japan
Petter Y. Lindgren, Wrenn Yennie Lindgren
pp. 323-348
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0013

Contending Narratives of the International Order: US/Chinese Discursive Power and Its Effects on the UK
Rex Li
pp. 349-385
DOI: 10.1353/apr.2019.0014

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My first podcast appearance

My first podcast appearence: Sidenvägspodden avsnitt 5: Kinas militära ambitioner (in Swedish): https://poddtoppen.se/podcast/1364489792/the-ui-podcast/sidenvagspodden-avsnitt-5-kinas-militara-ambitioner

President Xi Jinping inledde 2019 med att beordra armén att förbereda sig för krig. Samtidigt säger Xi att Kina är ett fredligt framväxande land som inte är en fara för någon annan stat. Bör omvärlden vara orolig för Kinas militära ambitioner? Hur samarbetar Kina kring säkerhet med länderna längs sidenvägarna? Vilka är Sidenvägsinitiativets geostrategiska dimensioner? Vad betyder Kinas allt närmare samarbete med Ryssland?

I det femte avsnittet av Sidenvägspodden utforskas dessa och andra frågor tillsammans med Sofia Ledberg, biträdande lektor vid Försvarshögskolan, och Mikael Weissmann, seniorforskare vid UI och docent vid Försvarshögskolan.

Sidenvägspodden är UI:s nya poddserie om Kinas globala ambitioner. Den drivs i samarbete med Stockholm Observatory for Global China och Kinakännaren Ola Wong som är programledare. I sju avsnitt intervjuar Ola experter från olika discipliner och ämnesområden för att utforska Sidenvägsinitiativets dimensioner.

Sidenvägspodden är en del av ‘Global China Series’. Läs mer här: www.ui.se/english/research/asia/sogc/

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Research visit to Singapore

This week I will be conducting a visit to Singapore to work on a Special Issue on “Power, Narratives, and the role of third parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia” for Asian Perspective with my RSIS co-guest editor Dr Li Mingjiang. This issue is part of Prof. Linus Hagström and my Power Shift in East Asia project funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

I will also be visiting, among others, the East Asia Institute at National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

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