Professors Chiyuki Aoi and Yee-Kuang Heng co-edited a special section on Asian Perspective, entitled “Special Section on Strategic Communications and Regional Dynamics in the Asia Pacific.”
Asian states are increasingly finding strategic communications to be an important tool of foreign and defense policy. Strategic communications involve coordinated messaging to achieve political objectives, utilizing words, actions, images, and various forms of signaling or symbols with the intention of influencing or persuading the target audiences. Such purposeful, coordinated, and targeted communications necessarily give rise to action-reaction dynamics that may have a tangible impact on interstate relations and the balance of power. How, then, do states in Asia employ such messaging activities in order to achieve influence? What dynamics are created by the employment of strategic communications by states in the region, and how do these affect intense greatpower rivalries and competition for leadership of international norms and in institutions in the region? The contributors to this special section address a series of common questions as the analytical framework for investigating how states conceptualize and utilize strategic communications to further national interests vis-à-vis their target states and domestic populace. The articles explore the communicative dynamics of strategic communications and how they impact perceptions of threat and the cost-benefit calculus associated with certain actions, such as escalation or de-escalation of tensions. This special section demonstrates the ways in which strategic communications are an integral element of an ongoing power transition in Asia and thus shape international relations in the region in critical ways.
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