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Title: Water diplomacy and China’s bid for soft power in the Mekong
Authors: Zhang, Li
Zhang, Hongzhou
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Zhang, L. & Zhang, H. (2021). Water diplomacy and China’s bid for soft power in the Mekong. The China Review, 21(4), 39-75.
Journal: The China Review 
Abstract: This article investigates how China’s new policies and practices toward water issues in the Mekong subregion are reshaping hydropolitics and geopolitics. Despite its unmatched hard powers in the region, China suffers from a lack of soft powers in regional geopolitics generally and the transboundary hydropolitics particularly. As the Mekong water conflict emerges as a major source of regional concerns toward its rise, China has been adopting water diplomacy in the Mekong subregion under the auspices of the newly established Lancang Mekong Cooperation (LMC) to consolidate its position as both the hydro-hegemon and regional power. On the one hand, China’s water diplomacy aims to increase the country’s persuasive and ideational powers to consolidate its status as the hydro-hegemon in the Mekong River Basin. On the other hand, China is also interested in exporting its development approach and promoting the common identity among regional countries through water diplomacy. Although these efforts have boosted its geopolitical cloud in the Mekong to some degree, China’s regional expansion has triggered counterefforts from both the Mekong countries and other major powers.
ISSN: 1680-2012
Schools: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies 
Rights: © 2021 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. All rights reserved. This paper was published in The China Review and is made available with permission of The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Journal Articles

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