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Books: China's influence campaigns fail to build trust

Joshua Kurlantzick's book offers comprehensive view of how Beijing attempts to sway global opinion

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, left, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center, and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha pose for a photo on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in November 2019. China has worked hard to build influence in Southeast Asia, but it has struggled to win trust in the region.   © Reuters

Since 2017, when Australia, New Zealand and Singapore exposed Chinese influence operations within their borders, writing about China's influence has become something of a growth industry. Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, is a pioneer of the industry.

He began writing on Chinese influence before it became fashionable, and his "Charm Offensive," on China's soft power, appeared in 2008, the year of the Beijing Summer Olympics, when Beijing's international reputation was at its apogee.

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