Connectivity between China and Southeast Asia: Mission Impossible?
REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR
About the Seminar
Five years into its pursuit of an envisioned ‘maritime silk road’ characterised by connectivity in infrastructures hard and soft, China is finding Southeast Asia a bit short of the level of receptivity it had wished to receive. While each case of China-financed and/or -constructed infrastructure and other development projects has its own unique sets of circumstances, the cumulative effect of negativity is unconducive to the development of ties between China and the particular Southeast Asian country or ASEAN in general. Bumps on the proverbial Belt & Road are reminders of deeply held assumptions that merit serious self-questioning. Examples of such assumptions include (but not confined to) geo-strategic ‘choking points’ certain Southeast Asian localities present China, zero-sum effects of big power rivalry, and a purported ‘China model’ as an alternative to advancement of civilization. In short, an alternative thinking is to give China-Southeast Asian connectivity a chance, based on two-way collaboration.
About the Speaker
Professor Zha Daojiong, currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, is also a professor in the School of International Studies, Peking University. Within Peking University, he holds concurrent appointments in the Institute of Ocean Research, Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, as well as the Yenching Academy. His areas of expertise include the politics of China’s international economic relations, particularly the fields of energy and natural resources, development aid and the economics-political nexus in the Asia-Pacific region. In recent years, his research has extended to political and social risk management for Chinese corporations engaged in greenfield investment operations in the country’s Belt and Road Initiative and beyond. He is author of several books and dozens of research articles including Building a Neighborly Community: post-Cold War China, Japan, and Southeast Asia (Manchester University Press, reprint edition 2013), co-authored with Professor Hu Weixing.