China’s Environmental Policy and Soft Power Potential

Matevosyan Anna Torgomovna
PDF (Rus)Subscribers only

The purpose of this article is to identify an interdependence between environmental policy and expansion of international influence, “soft power” of state. The evolution of the environmental agenda that led to the change of Beijing’s role in global politics has been analyzed.
The article examines China’s cooperation with the island countries of the Indo-Pacific region. Climate challenges faced to these countries facilitated the development of cooperation with Beijing. Chinese leaders offered support to overcome the consequences of climate change. The United States that had played a key role in supporting the island states in the fight against climate change temporarily withdrew from the Asia-Pacific Region during the Trump administration. This led to China’s position strengthening among the countries of the region. Beijing has succeeded in expanding its “soft influence” in a strategically important region for China through international eco-projects and active participation in addressing global problems.
The China’s case research reveals an interdependence between the development of the country’s environmental policy, international cooperation and the strengthening of the “soft power”. It’s forecast that China will strengthen its position among the Asia-Pacific countries and developing countries as a leader in environmental protection issues.
The article suggests that developing countries will further be engaging in the environmental agenda including India. Thus, the prospects for the use of eco-diplomacy as a strategic tool for achieving foreign policy goals and expanding “soft influence” is being underlined.
Key words: “soft power”, environmental policy, eco-diplomacy, global problems, climate change, China, Beijing, Indo-Pacific region.