The People's Republic of China and the use of soft power in Latin America

Date
2012
Authors
Kopic, Viktor
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Abstract

This paper applies the theory of soft power to a study of China's influence in Latin America. The research explores whether China's use of soft power has been successful in Latin America and if it has led to a significant increase in Beijing's influence on the region, specifically during the 2000-2010 period. More specifically, the research analyzes whether economic and diplomatic policies of Beijing have led to increased economic and diplomatic influence in Latin America.

The research uses bilateral trade, the trade balance, support for the One-China Policy, the signing of key agreements, and an interest in cooperation with the Chinese military, to test Latin America's dependency on China in the areas of foreign policy, the Beijing Consensus, and formal meetings. Through the use of numerous sources, data is compiled to conduct this study. Results confirm that China's use of soft power was successful in Latin America during the 2000-2010 period. The evidence presented also firmly shows that China's main interest in Latin America is as a provider of primary commodities, while the region also presents itself as a growing market for China's exports of manufactured goods.

However, even though results show an increase in Beijing's economic influence throughout Latin America, the significance of Beijing's diplomatic influence differs amongst Latin America's two sub-regions. Beijing's diplomatic influence has shown high significance in South America and low significance in Meso-America. It is concluded that Beijing's soft power in Latin America will likely continue to increase in the foreseen future, more so in South America than in Meso-America. However, with growing economic influence in Meso-America, there is a possibility of diplomatic influence increasing in the Latin American region in the near future.

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Keywords
China's influence, China's influence in Latin America, China's soft power, Latin America, Soft power
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Department
Political Science and Geography