Besides expanding its influence in Africa, China is establishing deeper economic ties with European countries as a part of its One Belt, One Road initiative. The initiative is intended to "place China firmly" into the large EU markets, linking the East and the West of the Eurasian continent through a vast network of high-speed railways and maritime routes.

In the past year, China and Latin America have given strategic priority to bilateral cooperation through establishing a comprehensive cooperation mechanism, upgrading production capacity cooperation, furthering cooperation in trade, investment and finance as well as increasing cultural exchanges.

A highly-anticipated appearance in Beijing by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s favorite girl band was abruptly cancelled Saturday, hours before the group was set to perform and with no official explanation given. [...] the group — which was accompanied by an army orchestra, the State Merited Chorus – arrived in Beijing on Thursday and was expected to stay until next Tuesday on what the North Korean official news agency KCNA described as a “friendship visit” to China.

Moranbong Band is the latest (and maybe the only) soft-power export from North Korea. It is the favorite group of Kim Jong-un, the nation’s young authoritarian leader — and some reports say he handpicked each member. 

A new position at Kyoto University, research on nation branding and propaganda, and an upcoming book on Japan’s struggle to “go global.”

See who else is leading and who's falling behind.

After a decade, in the 2000s, in which China aggressively pursued warmer relations with many Southeast Asian nations, using a combination of diplomacy, aid, and soft power to woo its neighbors, the past five years have seen a significant chill in China-Southeast Asia relations. 

Members of the IOC, meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, announced the decision after a secret ballot, dealing a potential boon to the global winter sports industry but sparking outrage among activists and human rights groups who say the committee has rewarded China’s Communist Party during its strongest crackdown on dissent in decades.