06 September 2014
Beijing’s multifaceted relationship with Southeast Asia is hamstrung by its hard line on territorial claims
China and Southeast Asia are more intertwined than ever. Trade between the two regions is booming and Chinese investors are pouring into Southeast Asia. China is fully involved in most regional security meetings organised by Asean. This era of Sino-Southeast Asian relations should thus be a golden age that brings mutual peace and prosperity for all concerned.
But there is a shadow hanging over this idyllic picture: the South China Sea conflict. Vietnam and the Philippines have had several diplomatic and military spats with China. In the most recent crisis, Vietnamese and Chinese ships faced off near the Paracel Islands over China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters. For the casual observer of Sino-Southeast Asian ties the problems in the South China Sea would be cause for doom and gloom. However, amid all of the media noise about plummeting relations, a broader view of relations between the two sides is instructive.
… Lim Kheng Swe is a researcher with the China Programme at S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 12/09/2014