China’s Covid-19 diplomacy in Timor-Leste
Mica Barreto Soares Swinburne University of Technology, AUSTRALIA
This paper examines China’s Covid-19 diplomacy in Timor-Leste through the lens of soft power. In just a short period, the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the world and threatened both economic and human security particularly. While most countries look inward, China, on the other hand, has gone beyond its borders, stepping up to assist not only the hard-hit countries but also the less-affected nations including Timor-Leste, to tackle the infectious disease through different engagements. These include providing medical aid and Covid-19 related public relations to raise awareness. China’s Covid-19 related activities in Timor-Leste are considerably significant and well-received. It argues that China’s assistance is undoubtedly a gesture of goodwill in time of unprecedented crisis. Yet, its engagement also contains soft power elements which aim to promote its self-image as a benevolent frontliner and responsible great power that is capable of filling the void in time of great need. Such diplomacy will also further strengthen its presence in Timor-Leste.