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December 21, 2020 48 min

Southeast Asia is becoming an increasingly important geopolitical battleground - and so this week, we put the region's complex relations with China in the spotlight. 

Although many ASEAN nations have deepened their economic ties with Beijing in recent years, there remains a fair bit of wariness towards China's expansion of interests in the region. And of course, responses vary dramatically among individual countries - with factors like historical experience, trade relations, and security dynamics all coming into play. 

From China's perspective, as it seeks to cement its status as a regional - and even global - superpower, its strategy in Southeast Asia is increasingly important. It recently pledged to 'deepen cooperation with ASEAN' and 'maintain peace and stability' - but can this be taken at face value? How will China's economic interests in the region interact with some of its security disputes there? And what does China's growing influence mean for the US in the Indo-Pacific? 

This episode is a collaboration with Chatham House’s Asia-Pacific programme. Our guest-host Bill Hayton is joined by Pon Souvannaseng from Bentley University, and The Diplomat website's Sebastian Strangio, to talk about how closer ties with China are being seen from within the ASEAN nations themselves. Then, to get a sense of what China's strategy in the region might be, we speak to Enze Han from the University of Hong Kong. 

 For more on this episode, including a reading list, please go to our website, where you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list.

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