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In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in an Age of Rising Chinese Power

As China’s economy has surged and its leadership has asserted its power abroad, each country of Southeast Asia has been presented with a thorny challenge: how to benefit from the Chinese renaissance while safeguarding its sovereignty over the long term

Boris Sullivan

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The 11 nations of Southeast Asia stand uniquely exposed to the rising power of the new China: three share borders with the world’s most populous nation, and five are directly impacted by its claims over the South
China Sea.

All dwell in the lengthening shadow of Chinese influence: economic, political, military, and cultural.

Throughout Southeast Asia today, there is ample evidence of China’s growing influence. In the region’s capitals, Chinese leaders come bearing gifts and promises, including trade inducements, huge tranches of Belt and Road infrastructure funding, and promises of priority access to Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.

Feeling the hard edge of Chinese power

At the same time, the region feels the hard edge of Chinese power. In the South China Sea, Beijing continues to pressure the nations of maritime Southeast Asia to acquiesce to its expansive maritime claims, while its string of hydropower dams on the upper reaches of the Mekong River have stirred downstream fears about chronic drought and food security.

Meanwhile, new infrastructure connections have breached the ancient barrier of mountains and forests that once kept China far away, opening the mainland countries to a transformative southward sweep of Chinese investment and immigration.

As China’s economy has surged and its leadership has asserted its power abroad, each country of Southeast Asia has been presented with a thorny challenge: how to benefit from the Chinese renaissance while safeguarding its sovereignty over the long term.

Escalating tension between China and the U.S.

Added to this is escalating tension between China and the U.S. As the Trump administration attempts to
assemble a global coalition to contain Chinese power, Southeast Asia finds itself once again at the centre of great power competition.

In his new book, “In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century,” Strangio, an Australian journalist who has covered Southeast Asia for more than a decade, examines on-the-ground impacts of China’s growing power in Southeast Asia and how the governments and peoples of the region are responding to its resurgence.

Hear from the author (via Skype from Australia) and three regional experts about the perils and opportunities of China’s growing footprint in Southeast Asia, and what it might mean for the future balance of power in the Indo-Pacific.

This event will be co-hosted by the FCCT and ISIS Thailand, at the FCCT clubhouse and livestreamed on Facebook pages:

www.facebook.com/FCCThailand
www.facebook.com/ISISThailand)

Speakers:

Sebastian Strangio, Southeast Asia editor, The Diplomat and author of “In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century.”

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Director, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS Thailand), Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.

Sihasak Phuangketkeo: Former permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; special advisor to Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor project and visiting senior fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute,
Singapore.

Gwen Robinson, Senior fellow, ISIS Thailand; editor-at-large, Nikkei Asian Review; and FCCT
president

Moderator: Jonathan Head, Southeast Asia correspondent, BBC News; FCCT vice president

Event co-hosted by FCCT and Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 7PM at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT)

Penthouse, Maneeya Center
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: 02-652-0580
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site: https://www.fccthai.com

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