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PacNet #45 – China’s ‘frown diplomacy’ in Southeast Asia

“Smart Power, Chinese Style” is the title of a 2008 article by a renowned Singaporean analyst, Kishore Mahbubani. Kishore praised China for the “competence” of its diplomacy, contrasted China’s “deft geopolitical instincts” with American “incompetence” and “arrogance,” and noted admiringly Beijing’s fealty to ancient principles of Chinese statecraft: to observe and analyze calmly, deal with changes patiently, and avoid the limelight. Unlike the self-absorbed Americans, the Chinese had “developed a remarkable capacity to understand the voices of others around the globe” and evinced superior “geopolitical acumen and better professional diplomacy.”