Suetyi Lai and Li Zhang

The Union began gaining competence in external relations in 1993 after the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty. Since then the EU has struggled to increase its international presence, and public diplomacy has been one option in the toolbox. In terms of traditional diplomacy, the role and weight of the EU in Asia have been less prominent compared to unitary actors such as the US and Russia; the Union’s public visibility and awareness among the Asian public have also lagged behind. This chapter is devoted to examining the public diplomacy programme of the EU in Asia, to determine how it has (or has not) contributed to the EU’s rapprochement with Asia. It focuses on the EU’s public diplomacy in countries of the ASEAN+3 group. These are subdivided into Northeast Asia (China, Japan and South Korea, which are three of the EU’s ten strategic partners) and Southeast Asia (the ten member states of ASEAN). This study excludes public diplomacy of the individual member states of the EU. The timeframe monitored is between 1994 and the present, as in 1994 the EU published the New Asia Strategy, which marked the beginning of the EU’s rediscovery of Asia.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific