China and the Limits of South Korean Soft Power: A Case Study of the THAAD Dispute

Ernst, M. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop/seminar


As South Korea’s cultural wave has surged across the globe in recent years, the government in Seoul has sought to harness and build on this soft power through a greater emphasis on public diplomacy. By virtue of geographical proximity and geopolitical clout, China has ranked high as a target for this public diplomacy – ultimately to earn support for South Korean policies. However, despite years of cultivating a positive image with Chinese audiences, Beijing’s economic retaliation against South Korean businesses in response to the decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense battery in 2016 received widespread support from the Chinese public. What should Seoul take away from this incident?

Please join KEI for a discussion with Maximilian Ernst on what the THAAD dispute can tell us about when public diplomacy and soft power does and does not work as well as the implications for South Korea’s foreign policy in an increasingly constrained geopolitical environment.

Period27 Apr 2021
Held atKorea Economic Institute of America, United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational