Soft power diplomacy emerged in the twenty-first century. American political scientist Joseph Nye is a well-known figure who is credited with popularizing the concept. Nye describes soft power diplomacy as “the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction and persuasion rather than coercion or payment.”

Nye redefined this term because he thought the previous meaning was inadequate. According to Joseph Nye, the modern concept of soft power diplomacy is the ability to influence other countries by collaboration in influencing policies, inviting, and engaging in constructive activities to achieve desired outcomes. In a way, this type of diplomacy is carried out willingly by each side, and the outcomes benefit both parties involved.

Soft power is also a superior national advantage since it is the capacity of a state to manipulate other countries in order to obtain desired outcomes or interests. This soft power can be manifested in a country’s foreign policy instruments and techniques.

Asia is distinct in that it employs diverse diplomatic tactics due to the lack of similarity in its diplomacy. Like the Middle East, South Asia is a volatile area with a distinct hard power approach. Southeast Asia, on the other hand, is focused on a different state structure that employs different diplomatic approaches. Australia, on the other hand, has a soft power orientation due to its proximity to Southeast Asia.

China is one country that has a reputation for promoting soft power diplomacy in its foreign policy. Nye has also spoken about China’s soft power strategy. In China, the idea of soft power diplomacy was first proposed in 1993 by Wang Huning, a member of the Chinese Communist Party and the Head of the Research and Policy Section.

However, there is no known consensus about what constitutes “soft power” in the sense of Chinese “soft power.” The strict concept of “soft power” is “the ability to get what one wants through allure rather than threats or resources” and “the ability to shape one’s own hand.” In the Chinese context, this term is extremely difficult to apply.

There are many reasons for this, including the fact that China’s economic resources are a fundamental feature of Chinese power and a key to the success of China’s diplomacy and attractiveness, that Chinese leadership is a term appropriate when they consider it advantageous for the establishment of a ruling China, and, as a separate subject, that China’s economic resources are a fundamental feature of Chinese power and a key to the success of China’s diplomacy.

Positive cooperation by mutual “soft power” diplomacy is not ineffective. Positive involvement has aided in the development of positive regional ties in general. China continues to participate in regional and international organizations, such as ASEAN, and to promote its models. Furthermore, the order was established on the basis of shared regional values.

This definition highlights China’s view of soft power and how it can be used to achieve national goals. Specifically, in maintaining constructive ties with neighboring countries and gaining greater regional power or influence. With this perspective, it’s possible to figure out what China’s expansion objectives are.

Raihan Ronodipuro received a Master's degree in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University, China. He is a research analyst with an emphasis on Sino-Indonesian Relations and Asia-Pacific issues.