China’s Influence in Mainland Southeast Asia
In 2019, Melissa Crouch together with Keirran Sims (James Cook Uni) and Patrick Jory (UQ) organised a conference on China’s Influence in Mainland Southeast Asia at the University of Sydney. This event was the first conference of the Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS), one of five interdisciplinary subregional associations affiliated with the Asian Studies Association of Australia.
AMSEAS seeks to foster and promote research relevant to Mainland Southeast Asia. AMSEAS supports the study of Mainland Southeast Asia in Australian and New Zealand universities, as well as working to enhance the public knowledge of the region.
Mainland Southeast Asia includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It is one of the world’s most culturally heterogeneous, linguistically diverse and economically dynamic regions. It is home to three of Southeast Asia’s least developed countries, which are also among the ten fastest growing economies in the world. It is also a region of great political complexity. Two of its five members have post-revolutionary single-party states, while the remaining three have gone through distinctive processes of formation and change. Its governments all seek regional collaboration through ASEAN and other frameworks.
About the Workshop
The peoples of the mainland Southeast Asian countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, have a long history of relations with China. These relations covered the areas of trade, migration, religion and culture, and occasionally, conflict. The colonial period and the Cold War significantly disrupted contact between the two regions, but with China’s opening up and economic rise in the last 40 years relations have resumed arguably with greater intensity than at any time in recent history. As China seeks to convert its economic power into further regional influence this workshop aims to provide a clearer picture of the current relationship between mainland Southeast Asian countries and China. The workshop will also consider its significance at a time of growing geo-political tension in the Indo-Pacific region. The Workshop will give particular attention to four broad themes:
(i) security and shifting geopolitics in mainland Southeast Asia;
(ii) national politics, in particular how China’s authoritarian model is affecting political development in mainland Southeast Asian states;
(iii) economic and social change in mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in relation to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); and
(iv) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence operations in mainland Southeast Asian countries.
For the workshop program, see here.