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At the beginning of the twenty-first century, China is poised to become a major global power. And though much has been written of China's rise, a crucial aspect of this transformation has gone largely unnoticed: the way that China is using soft power to appeal to its neighbours and to distant countries alike. This original book is the first to examine the significance of China's recent focus on soft power, that is, diplomacy, trade incentives, cultural and educational exchange opportunities, and other techniques, to project a benign national image, pose as a model of social and economic success, and develop stronger international alliances. Drawing on years of experience tracking China's policies in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, Joshua Kurlantzick reveals how China has wooed the world with a charm offensive that has largely escaped the attention of American policymakers. Beijing's new diplomacy has altered the political landscape in Southeast Asia and far beyond, changing the dynamics of China's relationships with other countries. China also has worked to take advantage of American policy mistakes, the author contends. In a provocative conclusion, he considers a future in which China may be the first nation since the Soviet Union to rival the U.S. in international influence.