UCL Institute of the Americas


Midou Tian

Promoting Peace? US Soft Power towards China, 1989-2016


Dr Tony McCulloch and Dr Nadia Hilliard

Since China has developed to the point of potentially challenging the predominance of the United States, the Sino-American relationship has become increasingly important in the international system. In the context of globalisation and a multipolar world in the post-Cold War era, soft power theory was strongly recommended as an effective strategy for a United States adapting to a changing international order. This project is to research the extent to which US soft power towards China influenced the Sino-American relationship from 1989 to 2016. The theoretical approach (liberalism and constructivism) will be used to improve the soft power theory. Further, it will assess the formulation and implementation process of US soft diplomacy towards China. This project will prove that US soft diplomacy towards China involved a complex historical process including penetration, aid, containment and cooperation; it has tangible influence on the Sino-American relationship; and can under certain conditions promote a peaceful relationship.