CHINA’ S SOFT POWER METHODS APPLIED IN CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES (THE CASE OF KAZAKHSTAN)
Gulnaz KURAMAYEVA, Saniya NURDAVLETOVA
Gulnaz Kuramayeva, Doctoral candidate, Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Astana, Kazakhstan)
Saniya Nurdavletova, Ph.D. (Hist.), Assistant Professor, International Relations Department, L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University (Astana, Kazakhstan)
In recent years, China began assuming a more active stance on the international arena, in particular, by using soft power methods. The application of such methods is especially apparent in the politics pursued by Xi Jinping. China’s foreign policy during his leadership is characterized by the combination of hardline and soft methods. The growth of China’s soft power methods is partly determined by the strong interest of Western researchers in China’s current projects and initiatives. Following the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, the interest in the China’s successful economic development model has significantly increased.
In this paper, the authors attempted to analyze China’ soft power methods applied in Kazakhstan. China possesses a set of soft power instruments that allow it to exert a degree of influence over Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan. The main components of PRC’s soft power foreign policy in Kazakhstan are culture and education. The first component is based on the familiarization and further popularization of Chinese culture and its achievements in the Kazakhstan society. The second aims to strengthen the ties between the two countries in the sphere of humanities, in particular, via the development of bilateral scientific and educational programs and the expanded accessibility of Chinese educational grants. Both components are implemented in Chinese foreign policy in Kazakhstan as two independent vectors. Meanwhile, there are Confucius Institutes that function in Kazakhstan and combine the cultural and educational components in their activities. It is also important to note that one of the strongest sides of China’s soft power policy in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the image of economic success, which attracts the entire international community, and, as the result, draws in a huge influx of investments.