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Yun-han Chu, Min-hua Huang and Jie Lu

Asian peoples’ perceptions on the nature of China’s rise and its impact on the region are determined by a multitude of factors, including contextual factors and domestic cleavages. This chapter focuses on two contextual factors with important policy implications. Chinese policy makers have increasingly recognized that soft power and national image management are essential aspects of Chinese foreign policy agenda. China’s international prominence is bound to rise with its ambitious Belt & Road Initiative, which is likely to reconfigure the paths and rules of economic integration and globalization. If China proves capable of providing ever more regional and global public products, in terms of policy coordination mechanisms, global economic infrastructure, and multilateral institutions, it will gain more credibility and respect in the eyes of Asian people as a responsible great power in the twenty-first century. The conventional wisdom in foreign policy circles tends to treat pro-US and pro-China attitudes as mutually exclusive. But this might not be the case in the Asia Pacific region, because for most East Asians the role of China and the United States are not mutually replaceable. In fact a balance of two great powers in the Asia Pacific region might serve their interests best.