Zhou Enlai was foreign minister of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 until 1958 and its first premier. He defined diplomacy as a continuation of warfare by other means. In the contemporary world, that definition includes an understanding of the concepts of hard and soft power. Joseph Nye developed the idea of soft power as the ability to attract and persuade rather than applying economic, military and political hard power.
China watchers have been combing through the details of the new initiatives and proposals Xi has recently introduced, such as “One Belt, One Road” (1B1R) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Even though these new initiatives are still under construction, the fact is that this has been the biggest foreign policy shift in Beijing since 1989. The bigger question here is, what is the grand strategy behind Xi’s plans?