The two-day OBOR summit, one of the most eagerly anticipated events in China this year, ended on May 15. Party mouthpieces referred to the meeting as a high-level international conference with far-reaching implications for the whole world. [...] If anything, the summit was marked by three things— big fat cheques, thunderous applause and hype surrounding president Xi Jinping’s “achievements”.[...] XI vowed pledged to provide an extra 60 billion yuan in foreign aid for countries along the economic corridor plus 2 billion yuan in emergency food aid.
China is a powerful international actor as the most populous country, the second largest economy, and a significant investor in modernizing its military. With early signs that the United States will emphasize hard power under the Trump administration, China has positioned itself as a champion of globalization and economic integration, perhaps signaling a desire to take on a greater international leadership role. It is doing this by doubling down on soft power, a measure of a country’s international attractiveness and its ability to influence other countries and publics.