Juan Pablo Acevedo2
Joseph Nye conceived the soft power concept to explain non-coercive means
used by countries to attract and co-opt rather than threat or use the force against
other nations. This paper explores the current level of permeation of China and
United States’ soft power, and analyzes historical events that led American
influence to be widely welcomed in Colombia, and how China is unable to
counterweight America’s soft power.
Keywords: Soft power, China, United States, Colombia
The rise of China as a dominant power has led academics and governments
to wonder about the real intentions of the second world’s economy and its role in
the next decades. Despite on Obama’s speech claims for cooperation and
commitment in peace, economic development and environmental issues, in the
National Security Strategy of the United States, China is regarded as a country
which military development should be monitored for keeping regional peace
(White House, 2010, p. 43)
Colombia has been characterized for having a close relation with United States.
There have been multiple facts that demonstrate their closeness. During the Cold
War, Colombia participated in the Korean War sending troops, United States has
been the largest trade partner for Colombia during the last decades and in 2000,
an agreement was signed to fight drug trafficking and drug production in
Colombia in which Americans financed 20% of military expenditures.
On the Chinese side, Colombia supported the admittance of the Asian country in
the World Trade Organization and in the Inter-American development bank, the
candidature for Shanghai Expo 2010 and Beijing Olympic Games 2008.
Moreover, during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – APEC forum in 2008,
China and Colombia signed a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIT) and in 2011,
1 Artículo tipo 2: de reflexión, según clasificación de Colciencias
2 Profesor tiempo completo de comercio internacional, Universidad Antonio Nariño,

China expressed its support to Colombia’s membership admittance in the Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation - APEC.
However, there is still a long way to go in order to consolidate Sino-Colombian
relations. Colombia’s previous administrations have been characterized by their
lack of efforts to understand Asian countries and develop a closer relationship
with them.
This paper studies the influence of soft power of United States and China on
Colombia, and how these influences have made Colombia to change its foreign
affairs agenda, analyzing the current situation, historical facts, and recent events
that have been changing the dynamics of these three countries’ relations.
Soft power concept
In 1990 Joseph Nye developed the concept of Soft Power in his book Bound to
Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, when described the power
capabilities of U.S in military, geographic and politics, adding a new dimension
called Soft Power. In 2001 Nye discussed again soft power in his book The
Paradox of American Power.
Nye defines soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction
rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country’s
culture, political ideals, and policies. When our policies are seen as legitimate in
the eyes of others, our soft power is enhanced” (Nye 2004).
Soft power can’t be easily defined due to the differences on the contexts of each
author; thus it becomes a relative concept guided by the initial references of Nye
when he identified the existence of Hard Power and Soft Power at the beginning
of 1990s.
After Nye’s contributions, soft power began to be broadly studied (especially in
China) and identified as a tool for countries to become global powers along with
coercive resources. That is the case of the Chinese academic Liu Jiang Hua
(2007) who defines soft power as any strength different from a country’s
economic, military, technological power, or anything implying hard power. For
him, soft power is based in attributes such as values, culture, integrity and
influence of the attraction, rule-making capacity and the ability to mobilize
Characteristics of Chinese soft power
Joshua Kurlantzick (2007) uses Nye’s concept as reference, and argues that
when Nye conceived soft power, he didn’t consider investment, aid, and formal

diplomacy as part of soft power strategies. 4 5 Nye Joseph S.000 international students in China studying under different programs supported by the Ministry of Education of China. p. A GDP increasing also affects perceptions in developed countries: A survey reveals that Americans think. local governments. 2011). Last decade. The future of power. The Beijing consensus.428 troops involved in nine of the fifteen UN peacekeeping operations whereas United States only contributes with 35.12) Chinese soft power is in practice. China. which are attracted to a yearly double digit increasing in GDP.9 billion in external publicity. 2011). China acknowledges the importance of combining all these dimensions of power on its race to become a global power while looking less threatening to others by spreading its language and culture. 1st ed. China has sent 15. soft power is everything besides military power.. (Kurlantzick. Media: In 2009-2010 China invested $8. p. p.6) The term peaceful rising (heping jueqi) surged in 2003 when a reputed intellectual of the CCP. Peacekeeping: During the last two decades. the concept has been studied by academics around the world (Suettinger.. 2011) 5. 4 Copper Ramo Joshua. framed under cultural. Same year the concept was adopted by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on a speech in Harvard University. offering economic and political alternative model for development. 2010). and next year used by Chinese former president Hu Jintao. there were about 400. Currently. but it can offer sizable carrots if they do”. In his book “Charm offensive: How China’s soft power is transforming the world” he mentions that soft power has evolved. However democratic countries might repel what attracts authoritarian governments (Nye. Beijing consensus became a reference model for many countries. Beijing consensus is a concept that surged in the academic and international politics world to describe the Chinese policies towards developing countries. universities and Confucius institutes (CSC. employing its military power only for peace keeping. p. (New York: Public Affairs. Zheng Bijian used in a lecture in a congress in Hainan. there are 2. including a twenty-four-hour Xinhua cable news channel designed to imitate Al Jazeera (Nye. Beijing consensus was a response to the non-popular Washington consensus. 2004. advertising non-nuclear proliferation. Ever since. The Foreign Policy Centre. 86 . “Beijing offers the charm of a lion. whose policies were characterized by “telling other nations how to run themselves”4(Copper. “The future will be created somewhere other than America” and 52% of 3 Education: By 2014. 2007. and political activities (everything but the use of military power to attack or threat). 2016). and that in the context of China. economic means of cooperation and improvement on infrastructure for developing countries 3.000 soldiers to peacekeeping operations. not of a mouse: it can threaten other nations with these sticks if they do not help China achieve its goals. Beijing consensus proposes an alternative for economic development and increasing of life quality.

they are aligned with the values of the information age. and thus "it would be difficult for this to form an influential component of China's soft power. 6 Second annual state of the American dream survey.S security was threatened. American values influence can penetrate authoritarian countries due to the high acceptance of freedom and democracy and the massive communication options. Besides 63% of Americans falsely believe the Chinese economy is today larger than the U. the country faces some constraints that hinder its efforts. therefore academics began to lucubrate the reasons and causes of the AntiAmericanism. Conflicts the northwestern city of Urumqi and turbulences in Tibet affect country’s image abroad. and the acknowledgement of the importance of soft power to become a great power. Millions of immigrants have gone to United States on last decades looking for new opportunities. Nye (2011) argues that China’s efforts to enhance soft power such as the Olympics. U.Americans think. Most of people want freedom of expression and participation. American values are not universal. In countries ruled by a dictatorship system." (Wuthnow. . 2008)7 Yan Xuetong (2008) argues that domestic problems can easily degrade China's image as a responsible power. The Concept of Soft Power in China's Strategic Discourse.S economy6. http://us.pdf 7 Wuthnow Joel. American values inspire youth to fight against oppression. “the future will be created in China”. 2 (June 2008) p. Xavier University. Characteristics of American soft power The so-called American dream became an idealization of the life quality standards that many developing countries wanted to reach. For the first time in many years. Shanghai Expo 2010 are hindered by its domestic political censorship and that Chinese film industry is not as large as Hollywood’s or Indian’s Bollywood. no. having the chance to organize protests online. 16.S has been studied through different scenarios. The 9-11 attacks in New York and Washington were a break point on the examining of the concept. Fang Changping from Renmin University. Nowadays people have more access to politics thanks to social networks. in Issues & Studies 44.xavier. Despite the increasing influence of China in the world. Soft power concept in the U. regarding Beijing consensus argues that some developing states do not possess the "prerequisites" or the "willingness" to replicate China's development model.

Other authors identified soft power as a tool to counterweight terrorist menaces through persuasion. Available at: http://us. economic and soft dimensions of power to regain its attractiveness. There should be analyzed the context in which culture is generating soft accessed on 2011-07-13 9 Translated by the autor from: Sánchez Cabarcas Fabio.Followed by Bush’s administration war against terrorism results.S influence around world. a refined analysis of soft power was adopted. Used the words smart power in 2009 to explain the foreign policies that were to be implemented by U. As the metaphor explains. this concept was adopted by U. Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton. won’t be 8 Hillary Clinton backs 'smart power' to assert U. The Guardian during her Therefore. Nye (2004) pointed that the American soft power was declining due to the skepticism of its importance.S policies and values. Anti-Americanism rose during this time as a result of carelessness in his backyard. “El soft power en el siglo XXI” in La Otra Bancada. the Anti-Americanism/Antiinterventionism effects caused by these U. 2008). but if I smile at your mother’s funeral it may destroy soft power rather than create it10”(Nye. American Culture in Colombia “United States has developed an environment of facilities efficient and practical which has been imitated in many places with varying success”9 Some analyst have misinterpreted soft power as a synonym for culture and then gone onto downgrade its importance (Nye. Universidad Sergio Arboleda.htm 10 Ibid . After Obama’s election. Colombia remained loyal as a result of multiple cooperation processes established in late 1990s and its alignment with U.S needed to change its foreign policy towards a friendlier one. Within this strategy.S Department of State. A Nye’s metaphor explains better the role of culture in soft power: “a nice smile can be a soft power resource. smart power combines military. and you can be more inclined to do something for me if I smile whenever we meet. 2011) decrease anti-Americanism and fight terrorism (Nye. There was identified that U. 2003). The lack of exertion of soft power was identified as one of the causes of Anti-Americanism. Bogotá Colombia. However. 2011). mutual cooperation and including it as a strategy for reconstruction of invaded countries (Afghanistan and Iraq) by promoting democracy and freedom (Lennon. in certain circumstances soft power can generate opposite outcomes than the Yet.S policies in Colombia.

majority of available options are movies produced in U. “¿Importación ó imposición de una cultura foránea? Las relaciones Estados Unidos – Colombia vistas a través de la historia de la televisión colombiana (19541970)”. This number increased by 12 Revista Semana 2006-11-04.S technology.S has also promoted American culture and way of living through its multinational companies.studied because traditional partnership between both countries evidences that such strategies generated more proportion of desirable outcomes than non-soft power behavior. 1 Bogota Colombia 1990 . and show the latest trends in humor and human relationships. Pepsi. only transnational companies could afford advertising costs.aspx 14 See: Hoyos Soraya. motion pictures. Television has also been an important mean to spread American soft power and ‘American way of living’.aspx. Public diplomacy refers to government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries.S’ culture and manners is evident in Colombia. cultural exchanges. Most of those strategies are created through public diplomacy. accessed on 2011-08-17 13 Movie listing checked in the website of the largest Cinema Company in Colombia in 201609-05. molding Colombians’ taste and promoting acceptance of American products and policies. Omnipresence of U.semana. Universidad de Los Andes. Prices of American series were more competitive than production costs in Colombia.S $15 million in Colombia.transferred by immigrants in U. Those series and movies were being sold worldwide at a lower price than its cost. 11 Definition from Public Diplomacy Alumni Association website: http://publicdiplomacy. Besides.S 13. 1 European and 1 Colombian. efforts or heroes. displacing national series and productions (Hoyos. 1990)14. Published on Historia Critica.S $ 100 millions. Television was brought to Colombia in early 1950’s. By 1958 exporting companies of American series were already selling U. Hence. in 1995 when McDonald’s arrived to Colombia. At the beginnings of TV in Colombia. some of these media resources show different situations in where the world existence relies on U. “¿Mc Quiebra?”. available at: http://us. but generating economies of scale for American producers. when sales rose to U. American movies are predominant. radio and television.. many Colombians grew watching publicity from Coca-Cola.S to their co-nationals. Hollywood industry and the concept of the American dream . broke Saudi Arabia’s record of speed in opening stores: Saudi Arabia opened five stores in one year while same happened in Colombia in only five months12. Many American movies reflect the ‘way of living’ of a developed and wealthy country. marketing. 11 Nevertheless U. In Colombia cinema’s movie listings. its main instruments are publications. Johnson & Johnson etc. broadening American influence in the country. There were 11 American.

“Psychologists tell Princeton University Press 1969 p.S Embassy in Colombia website. videos. who was recipient of this program.html 17 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Colombia. http://us. and foreign-educated students are more likely to promote democracy in their home country if they are educated in democratic countries. even though Anti-Americanism raises at some stages of Colombian history.usembassy. 42-43 .Many Colombians have been beneficiary of the Fulbright program since 1957.S in the 1960s 17 and during the upcoming years 18 Collective uncounscious is a theory developed by Carl Jung.2 哥伦比亚的美 Colombia has experienced a deep influence of U. American image in Colombia 3. 2011) therefore.S fiction. American symbols remain in society’s collective Colombian culture and manners were molded to American taste and this is already ingrained in Colombia’s idiosyncrasy. These statistics reflect that many Colombians have ties with U.S or with whom we share group membership. year in which such program started to operate in the country. See: Jung Carl Gustav.S has remained the main destination. Jung's theory states that there is a common language for humans of all times and places in the world. magazines. and tourist information.”(Nye.S we like those who are similar to U. promoting cultural page_name=Interna&idFile=91&cssColor=2&idMap=30 16 U.500 students of English monthly16. This is enhanced by U. Those centers were established in 1942 and host 32. 2011) Fulbright grants 100 scholarships for Colombia every year 15and most of their beneficiaries are likely to become leader at their communities and country politics. providing libraries for public access where community can find U. With the passage of Colombian/American Bi-national centers also operate in Colombia offering English courses. using soft power resources. The archetypes and the collective unconscious. and we are also attracted by physical characteristics as well as shared attitudes” (Nye.S media’s spread.S/bilingual books.S and may receive American influence from migrants (friends and relatives) already living abroad. audio tapes and collections that include U. pamphlets. Colombians perceive America as a friendly partner and a model to follow. consisting of primitive symbols expressing the content of the psyche that is beyond reason. it is the case of Colombia’s current president. history. hopes for 15 See: Fullbright Colombia’s website: http://us. http://bogota.S culture since its foundation in XIX century. There was a big wave of Colombians migrating to U.cancilleria. “research has consistently shown that exchange students return home with a more positive view of the country in which they studied and the people with whom they interacted. newspapers.

U.S as an approachable partner. On their latest research.S is somehow able to face and solve Latin-American’s problems. Roeckelein. performs a biannual poll in which questions the opinion of Latin Americans towards their perceptions about economy. and is characterized by its tendencies on exceptionalism (U. its policies and values. 36. reviewing Colombian foreign policy history in order to establish its permeability to American influence: U. This belief was contributed by Thomas Jefferson who also added a new principle called the pursuit of happiness which is the basis for individuals dignity and under U. Elsevier's dictionary of psychological theories. Psychologists also tell U. Geographical closeness also plays a crucial role in both countries relations and Colombians image of United States. For a human been to be happy he/she needs all that United States considers necessary for its human dignity.S in Colombian ruling class. Due to the closeness and the traditional relations between the two countries. this liberalism was inherited from France and United Kingdom.S is not able at all to do something. This freedom and development can be reached by acknowledging that every human been has natural rights.S’ eyes. most of them highly influenced by Americans.S politics and values influence in Colombia.3 美国政治体制和价值观念在哥 In order to describe U.8% of surveyed answered that U. Favorable image of U.19 Given traditionalist relations of both countries. through Colombian foreign policy behavior in last century. Elsevier 2006 p 320 . democracy among others.S in the media of the country. obtaining an omnipresent and favorable image in Colombian nationals.S politic system and value concept in Colombia 3.Jon E. a Chilean research institute. 19 See: Ethological models of personal space .S that people are more likely to get attracted to people who live and work nearby.8% think that U. can be evidenced in next section. Latinobarometro.S predominant politic philosophy is liberalism. international relations. and that it is a must for the government to protect those rights.S has been the most likely world power to be present in Colombia’s contemporaneity. its companies.economic development and hopes for military aid and protection (in case other country threatens Colombian sovereignty). All this is enforced by the participation of U.S was chosen by God to represent freedom and development in the world). U. Colombians perceive U. whereas only 11. it is needed to define what those values and politics consist on. bilateral cooperation and ideology during centuries.

Several interactions of ideals have occurred in both countries relations.In 1789 the bill of rights was introduced into the U. which consisted on getting a back from Latin American countries to enhance hemisphere’s security. democracy and human rights are also some of the main goals of American liberalism. 2007).S after Panama’s separation from Colombia in 1903. article 13 mentions that every single person is born free and equal in the eyes of Colombian law. The ResPice Polum doctrine was proposed by Colombian former president Marco Fidel Suarez (1918-1921). (2010). Revista Digital de Historia us Arqueología desde el Caribe.S Constitution involving the protection of fundamental rights in a liberal nation: freedom of religion. In the development of the good neighbor policy. La doctrina respice polum ("Mirar hacia el norte") en la práctica de las relaciones internacionales de Colombia durante el siglo XX. Memorias. which doesn´t exists in Colombia and is covered under article 11. it demonstrates that both countries are aligned and share same basic principles besides federalism and death penalty. states that Colombia is a democratic nation founded in human dignity respect. Colombia signed military agreements with U. . Following years. 20 Bermúdez Torres. It traced the path for the rapprochement between Colombia and U. Soft power played an important role by late 1940s in the context of Second World War. direct influence of U. Under such tendency. human rights and development. promoting acceptance of U. right to have security. Despite this is not necessarily an evidence of the result of political influence in Colombia. right to a fair trial and other protections. U. including the Monroe doctrine and Res Pice Polum (Follow the North Star) doctrine. 2010). and article 29 defends the right to a fair trial. Colombia played a leadership role expanding its diplomatic agenda. freedom of expression. politics and its role as world’s banner for democracy. and building Colombia’s diplomatic tradition.S that obliged Colombia to be the only Latin American country participating in the Korean War (Hernandez. article 19 guarantees the freedom of religion and beliefs. Americans didn’t have to make big efforts to gain Colombians favor. those values are spread by the use of its interventionist foreign policy (Bermudez. Preservation of capitalism. freedom of the press. This evidences that at the beginning of last century. C.S was mainly a result of Colombian leaders personality and ideologies.S president Theodore Roosevelt proposed the good neighbor policy.S compensation for the Panama Canal loss. Colombia supports American cause. 189-222. Roosevelt’s good neighbor policy and Colombia’s role in the Alliance for progress and recently Plan Colombia20. Colombian Constitution on its article 1.

there is no need to counterweight Taiwan influence it doesn’t offer as many resources as Brazil. Chinese public diplomacy efforts have had particular characteristics.aspx 22 Plan Colombia is a Colombian initiative that operated in the first decade of XXI century highly supported by U. 21 See “Colombia: Security. geographical and cultural distance and the traditional Western influence over the Colombia. In countries whose ideology is not affine (such as Colombia).S dominance in the country.jfklibrary. take advantage. The aid consisted on enhancing counternarcotic projects. and attract donors and international financial institutions to promote Colombia's economic growth . and there haven’t been expressed intentions of signing a FTA by the Colombian side. the stage for subsequent strategies adopted by U. Due to the late strengthening of ties between these countries.S. Summarizing. Colombia was confirmed as an ally of Americans. Washington consensus was the base for Colombia to get attracted by U. 1961-1963”. attempting to attract countries with common ideologies. Argentina and Chile. the use of soft power In Latin America. protection for human rights. Kennedy presidential library and museum website: http://us. language and values are some of the means used to get this target. motivated by the increasing and exporting of narcotics.S found a motivation to intervene in the country’s affairs through military cooperation focused on counter narcotics and posteriorly in the approval of the so called Plan Colombia22. sustainable economic Its culture.In 1960s with Kennedy’s Alliance for progress. based on aid and support. China intends to gain terrain.21 At the end of last century.S in 1920s. declassified files available at John F. investment. humanitarian aid. Most of public diplomacy efforts made by China are designed on a global basis to gain allies around the World and consolidate the country as a world power. stimulating private investment. in which Lleras informed about the reactions of Latin American presidents towards the initiative and expressed its concerns about their opposition. and infrastructure development. China in Colombia. U. China offers hopes for access to Chinese market. After the conference in Uruguay that intended to define the details of the program. whose decisions were baked by Colombians in front of international community. However some analysts identify the presence of China as a threat for U. there were communications between Colombian president Alberto Lleras Camargo and the White House. generating soft power behavior and desired outcomes for Americans. This set. Colombia is not a priority for China.S.

China is also concerned about understanding Latin American issues and study the development of relations with this region. international relations and social and cultural studies. Furthermore. painting. Chinese individuals. “Treinta años de amistad con una civilización milenaria” in Colombia us China: treinta años de amistad us cooperación Ministry of Foreign Affairs Colombia 2010 24 Ibid . opera etc. which include China as a topic in different Colombian universities. studies these sub continental matters divided in four departments: economics. EAFIT University’s ‘Centro de estudios Asia Pacífico’. was presented an exposition of Terracotta warriors for six months which was the most visited exposition in the history of this museum 23 Moreover. acrobatics. language. taught in universities around the country. 40 scholarships are granted yearly to Colombians to study Chinese language and postgraduate courses. Chinese language and culture in Colombia 4. The response to those efforts. In 2006 in Bogota’s National Museum. Since 2006. and 21 Chinese students have the chance to visit Colombia for promoting Chinese language and culture and improving their Spanish level in the same basis24. and multiple events.‘Fundación Cultural Colombo China’. Jorge Tadeo Lozano University’s ‘Observatorio virtual Asia-Pacífico’. tourism and business through different associations and activities which include ‘Camara de comercio e integración Colombo China’. and passionate Colombians on culture promotion are not as 23 Velez Guillermo R. Notwithstanding the effects of efforts made by Chinese government. Currently there are three Confucius Institutes located in the two main cities of Colombia. ‘Alianza Colombo China’. ‘Centro China’. establishing of new Confucius institutes and evolving the framework of Chinese government scholarships.Receptiveness of this public diplomacy will be studied below analyzing some of the relevant facts that structure this regard. The Chinese Institute of Latin American Studies was established in 1961. can be observed in Colombians motivation towards promoting the Asian country’s culture.1 中国语言和文化在哥 China’s has made efforts in building cultural ties with Colombia such as multiple exchanges of delegations. Since 1980’s. and multiple lectures that promote understanding of China. Chinese diplomatic mission in Colombia supports traditional organizations such as Asociación de Amistad Colombo and the newly established organizations that promote Chinese culture including the House of Chinese culture established in 2006. politics. Colombians had the chance to experience demonstrations of Chinese dances.

2011. for example. 89 26 Zhang Ping. they assume the language with big curiosity. In the international context.pdf Translated by Author . it is not very influential and doesn’t have promoting development of World’s economy abilities (…) It is also necessary to improve Chinese citizens image abroad and give more space to popular organizations. especially higher education and boost cultural and artistic expressions” Chinese is considered as one of the most difficult languages to learn. “Chinese culture influence in the World is still minor. p. it is rooted in completely different bases from European languages thus different to Spanish. 1st Quarter 2011. “El surgimiento del poder blando de China” in: Observatorio Virtual Asia Pacífico website. they want to know how does the Mandarin sounds like. is arguably driven by their calculation that the ability to communicate in Chinese will be fundamental to the pursuit of opportunities in the PRC. “The dedication of 5 or more years by students to gain a basic capability in the Mandarin language and its character set. perceiving Chinese as one of the most difficult languages. their conclusion is that Mandarin and Spanish are very different. “Impresiones de mis años de vida en Colombia”. instead we should develop at the same time the cultural industries. p. as well as education. a case study JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly”. Colombia’s population is approximately 45 millions while Peru’s is 29 millions and Chile’s 17 millions 27. creating more Confucius institutes abroad is not enough. It often happens that they learn a couple of phrases and after the second class their enthusiasm decrease. Mexico and Chile have four. then give up 26” None of the Confucius institutes in the country is located nearby the Colombian Pacific coast.25 As a Chinese teacher teaching Mandarin in Colombia referred about Colombian students studying the language: “at the beginning. “Chinese Soft Power in Latin America. civilians and Chinese influential people to play an increasing role on the construction of soft power (…)28” (Xu. Ellis. 4 available at: http://avalon. issue 60. whereas other Latin American countries like Peru. 2011) Chinese image in Colombia 25 Evan R. 2010 p.significant as the economic diplomacy outcomes. and with Chinese businessmen and government officials”.utadeo. Institute of Latin American Studies Professor Xu Shicheng (2011) argued that “in order to increase Chinese culture influence in the international arena. five and six r_blando__d-d_. 47 Translated by Author 27 CIA’s World factbook 2011 28 Xu Shicheng. in Amigos de China Ed when they listen native speakers speaking. this culture is not fashionable.

However this is a very deep matter that relies on education. giving the impression of East Asia as the most distant place in earth This led to conclude that generally speaking.utadeo. Chinese image in Colombia corresponds to the one of ‘a very distant country in Asia with a millenary tradition and growing economically’. 29 Posada Cano E. its influence is growing and perceptions in the social imaginary are becoming deeper. Catherine Marquez (2010) from Xiamen University made a research on perceptions of Colombians towards China in 2010. or Chinese products prices. “One advantage for Chinese investors in Colombia have is that there is not a preconceived stereotype. Colombians are talking more about China. written in capital letters. derived from a selective interpretation of history. P. “China-Colombia: Un nuevo concepto de cooperación”. vision of China in Colombia is neutral. Either because Chinese products 30 Ibid. more specifically during 2008 Olympics. it is believed in Colombia that Chinese products lack quality and that its prices might affect local industry. 36 .2 中国形象在哥伦 Enrique Posada Cano from ‘Observatorio virtual Asia Pacifico’ Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in his work “China – Colombia un nuevo concepto de cooperación” states: “IGNORANCE. Mexico and Spain. in this p. she concluded that one of the causes for Colombians to feel China as a very distant country. is the predominance of Euro-centrism where Europe was in the center of the World map. Nevertheless. " in Observatorio Virtual Asia Pacifico . 26s available at: http://avalon. Despite knowledge in Colombia about China doesn’t correspond with the profundity that inhabitants should have about the second World’s economy.36)30. range of age and location and we can just make analysis based on certain facts.4. environment and ideological convenience” (Marquez. is the risk for Colombia’s insertion in Asia Pacific (…)29” referring to experts and leaders opinion from Colombia. China. consequently we can say that perceptions may vary and are mixed including respect for Chinese work. and this was boosted by China’s soft power efforts focused on make a more favorable image in the World. p. admiration for culture and mistrust generated by products Chinese products introduction in the country. due to the lack of knowledge and distance. Universidad Tadeo Lozano Bogota 2007. Perceptions of Colombians towards China are superficial and based on media and experiences with ethnic Chinese living in the country. through the increasing of trade between the two countries. 2011. 2009 China-Latin America investment summit and 2010 Shanghai Expo.

ch/cable/2009/03/09BEIJING841. p. Ecuador. and Southeast Asia”. Center of International Media Assistance. In recent years. especially in Colombia where country’s institutions are relatively independent. It is the case of Venezuela and Bolivia that have launched satellites joint with China. “Winds From the Eeast. Left wing-oriented governments in Latin America.S. p. ‘senior Communist Party of China (CPC)’ leader Li Changchun received the delegation that was conformed of media leaders from Argentina. A Wikileaks cable reveals that a Colombian diplomat said that: “Colombia is not willing to be "walked all over" by China "like Africa and Venezuela. are more receptive to these efforts than Colombia. It can be evidenced that the amount of news in 2008 is the largest due to Beijing Olympics.pdf 32 Ibid.revisto.wikileaks. COLOMBIAN VIEWS ON TRADE RELATIONS WITH CHINA http://us.eltiempo. a completely different experience compared to Africa where leaders override countries’ institutions. Mosher AndyFarah. Brazil. Chinese face institutionalism in Latin American countries. How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Influence the Media in Africa.Figure 6. These satellites provide Chinese government information to spread government information from China and it can be used to counterweight opposition media in both South American countries 32. 21 33 Cable 09BEIJING841. Articles related to “China” as a main topic timeline El Tiempo newspaper January 1990 – August 2011 ARMONY Source: El Tiempo http://us."33 China’s politic influence in Colombia 31 Farah Douglas. and Peru. Colombia. Washington.. China has received six visits from Latin American delegations and held several conferences. the media of [China and Latin America] have made fruitful exchanges which have promoted understanding” 31. In 2009.html . 22 available at: http://us.. Latin America. But Chinese growth and incursion in the Latin American country also generate fear on Colombian leaders. Chile. Over the past five years. U. Li said that he “hoped the delegates could take this opportunity to have more understanding of China’s economic and social progress . The big dots indicate the years when news related to China were Consulted on 2011-08-24 The figure shows the quantity of news published on a popular newspaper in Colombia from 1990 to August 2011.

China is still on a developing road. and strengthen mutual trust and cooperation” 34. and its values and political system are not suitable with this kind of government. As mentioned before.xinhuanet. increase mutual understanding and friendship. Beijing consensus is a term adopted by academics as a result of Chinese successful economic rising of two digits in previous years and the collapse of non-authoritarian systems such as the European and the 2009 financial crisis. Percentage distribution of Colombians over 18 years old Opinion on whether democracy is preferable to any other form of government Source: Departamento Nacional de Estadistica DANE Colombia http://us. Figure 7. “Some academics have the view 34 Ministry of Foreign Affairs People’s Republic of China. mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs to learn from each other. full it is needed to determine whether the model is sustainable in a long run. it has certain “China’s Policy Paper on Latin America” available at: http://news.Beijing consensus as a model to be adopted in Colombia is not likely. PRC is not willing to interfere with Colombia’s internal affairs and moves prudently in the country to avoid friction with Americans. Even if Beijing Consensus were to be presented as a strategy to influence developing This affirmation is also supported on the characteristics of Beijing consensus: “independence. the model hasn’t reached enough maturity. Chinese leading class. has embraced Culture as the core of soft power. has learned from other authoritarian ways of government such as the Brazilian.dane. Chilean and Argentinian in the last century. Colombia only had one authoritarian government in 1953 that was expelled in 1957.htm .

org/files/media/csis/pubs/090305_mcgiffert_chinesesoftpower_web. available at: http://colombiareports. To get this aim in the hemisphere. 2009 Issue Volume 9. eclipsing Taiwanese influence.that the model is based on China’s unique development experience led by the CPC and can succeed only if the importing country adopts a communist political system. In late 2010. One outspoken scholar contends that no country should aspire to follow a model in which there is no real harmony or justice. that Colombia’s foreign policy towards China is Ellis. This evidences. Issues 1 & 2 p. 37 35 CSIS Smart Power Initiative. are also characterized by its neutrality and immatureness. 11 37 Castaneda Sebastian. in Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Security and Defense Studies Review.36 China-Colombia political relations. Colombia developed official relations with China in the beginning of the 1980s. In Colombia besides an isolated proposal made by a senator to recognize Taiwan as a nation. and that a model based on a one-party state has little soft-power value as it will never appeal to developed countries35”. the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that Colombia was among 18 countries that would abstained from attending the ceremony in December 10.html accessed on 2011-09-02 . Colombia has never shown interest on changing its position. make Beijing consensus an option not likely to be implemented in the South American country as evidenced in the poll shown above. Furthermore. Colombia has been differentiated of Latin American countries whose have been given an strategic status by China. Such constraints and limitations. Two days after Nobel Peace Prize committee announcement. Chinese soft power and its implications for United States.”. on December 7.pdf 36 Evan R. and that there haven’t been discussed rules and international affairs positions. “Colombia’s improvised China policy” in Colombia Reports 2010-1213. pp 23 available at: http://csis. jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. reducing polarization and framing relations under other agenda. Colombia has relatively few influence over Central American and Caribbean countries. therefore it’s not very purposefulness for China to use it as a base to expand its influence. plus Colombia’s historical political influence received from Euro-American societies. Colombia’s minister of foreign affairs declared that Colombia will attend the ceremony and that this ‘misunderstanding’ was caused because Colombia lacked of human resources to be present in both: the Nobel Literature Prize ceremony and Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. “Las relaciones China-Colombia en el contexto de la relación estratégica entre Colombia us los EEUU. China also reduced its opposition towards countries that adopted democratic systems. such as Mexico and Venezuela. As studied in Chapter II.

Mandarin and English are complementary languages whose influence is not competing in Colombia. Chinese. According to Colombian authorities. However. With the increasing of bilateral trade between Colombia and China. Recent years U. cultural heritage and current modernism. Chinese Global strategies of promotion may have effects on Colombia. Mexico. which is a small number when compared to the amount of Chinese nationals in other Latin American countries as . and education. media and events to increase its influence and permeability in the South American country.S policy towards its backyard has also led to wonder the role of China in the region.S neglect and growing of Chinese influence. Cultural influence and perceptions Both countries’ competition for culture and gaining of positive perceptions.American and Chinese soft power in Colombia The rising of China brought into question the possibility of displacing U. and Cuba that began to immigrate in those countries at the end of XIX century. the conceivable spreading of culture and manners by Chinese immigrants has low impact. even though there are already two Confucius institutes in Colombia. it can be concluded that the main difference between This demonstrates that the offer of Chinese language education in Colombia can’t supply the high demand. can promote the country through tourism. 38 Departamento Nacional de Estadistica http://us. people’s access to media. is that in most cases. Besides. they should dominate English as a mandatory language before considering a third one. it is a response of a demand caused in the World by China’s rising as a World power. by 2005 in the country there were only 1. U. Confucius institutes are not only a unilateral effort of Chinese. taking advantage of its millenary. high schools and universities programs. consists mainly on the time and the grade of ‘matureness’ of each country as a big power. Costa Rica. Comparing both countries race on becoming influential. Speaking another language is a plus for a professional to enter the labor market.S power in the World. In Colombia it is a must to speak English. relies on cultural institutions’ participation. and many educational institutions have opened Mandarin courses.dane. the main constraints for students to choose Mandarin as a foreign language. it is included in all the elementary. however English is a mandatory requirement. and in order to be part of the wave of the future.632 national Chinese38. many Colombians have begun studying Chinese. Colombia has faced both.

and how their lifestyle is an ideal to be achieved. p. French philosopher Michel Foucault tells U. at page 12. economic integration. power often creates hubris.S that power is maintained through the establishment of truth. That is to say. Routledge. 1st ed. China is ruled by the Communist Party through the National People’s 39 Foucault. However.S has developed its media to an extent that allows it to establish the truth as an universal truth. China has a big challenge to permeate Colombia (in soft power terms). the Middle-Kingdom wants to demonstrate that its rising seeks for the construction of an harmonic society. Making efforts to gain Colombians favorability and attraction don’t ensure the outcomes. R. this can’t be confused with China’s incapability of permeate Colombia. at page 55. (New York: Public Affairs. and capacity to absorb China rather than be replace by a Chinese-led order. China is following its civilizational objectives when establishing new partnerships. because infiltrating American values and culture in Colombians imaginary will not imply only its presence in massive media. 2011). China keeps a low profile in the country.S what is real. China’s foreign policy is based on Confucianism. molding peoples ideas and desires. and through soft power.) Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader. Hunt.. America’s presence in Colombia has a long background and Colombians’ taste has been already molded thanks to massive media and receptiveness of the country. A. and it is not probable that it becomes a hegemon because “the current international order has the openness. 39 U.S. would led to interpret that in order to avoid friction with U. 1981.185 41 Ibid . telling the world that its values and political system are an idealization of how countries should be run. supra at 33.Prudential policy? Facts that show China’s small presence in Colombia.S is omnipresent. in Young. and appetites sometimes grow with eating” 41 however. what is good or bad.40” Some academics argue that “generations change. London. and that this “truth” is legitimized through massive spreading of information.S. (Ed. China needs to be understood. 40 Nye Joseph S. As shown above. Political influence Neither Colombia nor Latin American countries are likely to be used by China as a satellite to confront U. promoting Chinese culture in Spanish. That is to say. In order to exploit such investments in soft power resources. power tells U. but also developing a strategy that can be effective in a place where U. The future of power. being consequent with its peaceful rising policy. Michel “The order of discourse”.

China is among the countries that aim to promote multi-polarity and avoid imposition in its phase of development. making part of the country`s comprehensive strategy whereas U.dane. Culture is acknowledged as the core of soft power for the CPC. available at: http://us. This differentiation has made both governments’ focus to be different. Legitimacy of the democratic system provides Colombians stability.63%). a developed and worldwide expanded media and a huge cinematographic industry promoting and showing their culture and values.Congress which implies that China is oriented towards State policies instead of policies established by the president in charge. it is needed to review what China considers as soft power and its interaction with other forms of power. Contrasting Beijing consensus and Washington consensus. Encuesta de cultura política 2008: Informe de resultados March 2009. Both countries use the mixture of 42 DANE. However. China’s rise has awakened countries’ attention through its economic power. In order to compare both countries’ soft power. Americans keep pursuing and promoting democracy and freedom without a clear strategy and way of using its existing soft power resources. equity/justice (16. In contrast. America counts with several soft power tools and instruments that go beyond government scope such as their lifestyle. offering hopes of partnerships with a wealthy and fast growing economy and leading the way to enhance and promote its language and culture. China’s soft power tools such as culture and language are harder to be expanded due to the late openness of the country in a more globalized and “Westernized” . Confucius institutes are the main tool to boost its culture and language abroad. products and brands. However. in the hypothetic scenario where Colombia is ruled by an authoritarian government.S has interpreted this comprehensive strategy as smart power. Colombia is not likely to strength ties with China to a political level as happened in Cold War with the alignment of developing countries ruled by communist and liberalist regimes.40%)42. In spite of recent signs of disengagement with United States. Differences of American and Chinese soft power on Colombia Regarding the characteristics of both countries’ soft power.20%) and freedom (15. American government also promotes democracy and supports democratic countries. as well as U. A poll made in 2008 shows that Colombians associate democracy with participation (21.S understanding of the matter. The strengthening of American soft power behavior in the World. a way of governance (16. For China. Beijing’s model is not likely to succeed.94%). has been the main constraint for rising countries like China to expand their influence. followed by the Chinese government scholarships. leading

4. it could be evidenced that there are more documents regarding Chinese soft power in Latin America than American soft power in Latin America. educational and diplomatic exchanges. In the first perspective. and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs strategists produce most of these researches. China is presented as a distant and unknown country. In both cases. However. due to the decline of U. Below will be compared some issues of these countries soft power on Colombia under this perspective: 1. When comparing both great powers’ soft power in Colombia. proximity is one of the characteristics that have allowed U. China has dedicated efforts on understanding and research the ways to utilize soft power to get its civilizational objectives. China’s geographical position hinders the possibility for cultural. Countries relations’ origins: American-Colombian diplomatic ties back more than a century ago. its films are scarcely projected in Cinemas. there are two perspectives to be analyzed. Anti-Americanism V. Geographical position: As exposed in Chapter III. Chinese.S’ soft power. and CCTV News Channel in Spanish can only be accessed through certain Cable services. China’s media presence in Colombia is limited. U. 5.S Construction of an harmonic world: U.S the main destination for Colombians. Media: American media is spread worldwide in different languages and in Colombia there is not an exception. Even developing attraction in Colombians.power dimensions to get their aims. there is an assumption that both world powers are competing for Colombians favorability and one influence may displace the other. neglect towards its backyard and military interventionism not only cause resentment in some . Research on soft power: Since the conceiving of soft power. Latin American academics. Colombia is receiving the soft power influence of other big powers such as China. interaction is linked to each country policies and interests. using economic power a catalyzer of soft power and attraction. currently there are not series broadcasted in Colombian TV. In contrast.S has been present in most of the important events of Colombian foreign affairs. 2. 3. and have facilitated culture spread through immigration. This assumption also leads to conclude that American influence in the Latin American country is hegemonic.S unpopular policies during last decade. On the developing of this research. being U. while Chinese relations with Colombia have been intensified only until last decade. The first one supposes that the interaction of soft power influence in Colombia is a zero sum game and the second one is that both countries influence are complementary in certain aspects of Colombian affairs.S to access Colombia to enhance its position as its ally.

Currently. Foreign Aid. Below. This perspective relies mainly on both countries interests. and being consequent with its building of an harmonious world (hexie shijie) as part of its "comprehensive national power" (CNP. Besides PRC’s participation in organisms such the Organization of American States . while China attempts to complement what U. zonghe guoli) strategy. developing an economic cooperation structure and being consistent with its non-interventionist policy.OAS as a permanent observer. China has limited the way these soft power resources are being used in order to avoid friction in the three countries relations. Americans might perceive that its soft power in the region is being threatened. being observer since 1994 to the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI). Diplomacy.Latin America Section”. 6.S. According to the soft power effects on Colombia. International events and organisms memberships: China’s participation on recent years’ events. even though U. might not attract a society uninformed of Chinese foreign affairs. Beijing 2008 Olympic games. Education: Even though U.S universities are better ranked than Chinese Universities. and 2009’s China-Latin America investment summit held in Bogota. there is an existing complementarity inside these three countries relations. In the second perspective. Expo Shanghai and Asian games in 2010. in CRS Report for Congress 2008-08-15 . Trade. but it doesn’t create either a violent-interventionist stereotype on the image that Colombians have of China.S was already a member of most of the organizations mentioned. and Investment in the Developing World . it can be concluded that notwithstanding the predominant influence of United States. some examples of this complementarity: 1. Colombians are receiving both countries influences.S is doing in terms of soft power. have enhanced its presence in the media and promoted the country. being China the one complementing this triangle. China offers Colombians educational opportunities in the second largest economy at a lower cost and 43 Sullivan Mark P. China..sectors of Colombian society but also hinder other American soft power resources effects. has boosted China’s position in Colombia. and membership in the InterAmerican development Bank (IDB)43have fortified its ties and influence in the region. “Comparing Global Influence: China’s and U. sending of its observers to the annual meetings of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL). the two great powers are influencing the country in a scheme of cooperation.

44 Ibid p. 2.aspx?id=1425524 accessed on 2011-09-01 . Moreover.S. Cristobal. the impact links directly the three countries.S $ 1 million every year for defense.S decision to approve FTA with Colombia. there was announced the possibility to establish a “dry canal” that would connect Pacific and Atlantic Oceans crossing Northern Colombia45 as an alternative for Panama Canal. using Colombia as an assembly point for exporting to U. during a meeting between Colombian and Chinese ministers of defense. 21 45 Rodriguez M. “Colombia tiene planes de una alternativa al Canal de Panamá”.com. Diplomatic relations: Colombia’s recognizing of PRC was constructed under American influence.S. 4. In early 2011. Construction of this canal would increase trade exchange and Chinese investment in Colombia. Military diplomacy: Colombia has only bought nonlethal military items from China.S $ 1 million donation. In economics. in it was agreed that besides the U. and PRC donates around for postgraduate courses.S.S offer 100 Fulbright scholarships every year in Colombia. (2010). one of the main concerns of U. U. Colombia might be a platform to export Chinese products to U. According to Evan. Washington: White House. IDEAS: IMPORTED ORIENTALISM References The national security strategy of the United States of America.44In 2011-02-14. Colombian minister of defense stated that this aid would help to boost counternarcotics and fighting guerrillas’ efforts.wradio. Potential success of this initiative relies also on U.S recognized PRC in 1979. Colombian government does not often highlight this aid. available at: http://us. there would be offered military training. 3. after U.

The future of power... Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. January 20.Nye Joseph S. 1st ed. “The battle for hearts and minds. Charm offensive: How China’s soft power is transforming the world. 12 http://weblog.S. New York: Routledge. Kurlantzick Joshua. p. M. 2 (June 2008) p. M. Zhong guo: Ruan shi li fang lüe. (New York: Public Affairs. China's soft power and international relations. no. U.leidenuniv. p. See: Wuthnow Joel. (New York: Public Affairs. Marilyn Hernandez. Intervencionismo estadounidense: El uso de valores liberales como estrategia de politica exterior. 6 Suettinger Robert L (2004).pdf See: Lennon Alexander T. (2012). “Guójiā ruǎn shílì yánjiū shùpíng (A study of countries’ soft power)” in Wǔhàn dàxué xuébào (zhéxué shèhuì kēxué bǎn) (Wuhan University Journal – Social sciences edition 62. China Leadership %20bijian. & Lu. Mexico. The MIT press Sept 2003 Dircio. . 1-28.” Xiandai Guoji Guanxi. Nye Joseph S.S. 2011). 2009-03-10 Yan Xuetong and Xu Jin. using soft power to undermine terrorist networks”.. “A Soft Power Comparison between China and the United States. (2007). Hernandez. 2).J. “The rise and descent of ‘Peaceful rise’”. Universidad de las Americas Puebla. p. U. 2007. 2004) 刘绛华:《国家软实力分析》,载《江西行政学院学报》2007 年第 4 期。quoted in: Jiang Ying Zhou . Universidad de las Americas Puebla.S. (2007). U. 1st ed. (Yale Univesity Press 2007). 2008 Lai. Intervencionismo estadounidense: El uso de valores liberales como estrategia de politica exterior.Ye Juan li. No. Hang zhou: Zhe jiang ren min chu ban she. 84 Ibid Hua. in Issues & Studies 44. The Concept of Soft Power in China's Strategic Discourse.

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