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China’s Geoeconomic Strategy: Toward the Riparian States of the Mekong Region

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Impact of China’s Rise on the Mekong Region

Abstract

China’s relationship with Southeast Asia is undergoing a significant shift. In the 1990s, China was perceived as a threat to its Southeast Asian neighbors partly due to its conflicting territorial claims over the South China Sea and its past support of communist insurgency. This perception began to change in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 when China resisted pressure to devalue its currency while the currencies of its neighbors were in free fall. Today, China’s “charm offensive” has downplayed territorial disputes while focusing on trade relations with Southeast Asia, which are viewed by some analysts as the catalyst for expanding political and security linkages. In November 2004, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, agreed to gradually remove tariffs and create the world’s largest free trade area by 2010. China is also beginning to develop bilateral and multilateral security relationships with Southeast Asian states.1

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Yos Santasombat

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© 2015 Yos Santasombat

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Sung, HC. (2015). China’s Geoeconomic Strategy: Toward the Riparian States of the Mekong Region. In: Santasombat, Y. (eds) Impact of China’s Rise on the Mekong Region. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137476227_2

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