28 March 2015
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ engagement with China runs deep. The two sides signed the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2002, which helped increase Sino-ASEAN trade from $78 billion in 2003 to $480 billion in 2014. Also, China is a major investor in and aid donor to several ASEAN member states, particularly Laos and Cambodia.
For ASEAN, therefore, China is an old, familiar economic partner. And China can use this base to engage ASEAN as a partner in the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives.
China’s “Belt and Road Initiatives” can be of great interest to the ASEAN members, because they have the potential to reshape the geo-economic landscape of the region. Over the coming months and years, ASEAN will watch closely how the initiatives progress.
…The author is a research analyst at RSIS’ China Programme, Nanyang Technology University. The opinions expressed are the author’s own.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015