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Bearing Offers of Help, China Woos Mekong Nations

China is stepping up its charm offensive in Southeast Asia, using water diplomacy to package itself as a regional power eager to help drought-hit Mekong countries and assist smaller ASEAN countries in narrowing the development gap within the region. Mia Gomez looks at the ASEAN response to this overture in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series.

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)

The dispute in the South China Sea issue has already climbed up several notches in ASEAN’s agenda over the last few years. China will try different diplomatic means to push its agenda, as Philip Bowring of the Asia Sentinel argues regarding its attempts to present Brunei, Laos and Cambodia as sympathetic to its side on the maritime feud.

 

Mekong Cooperation, China-style

The China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, which had its first leaders’ summit in March 2016, may sound boring but has big implications for water governance in the Mekong region, and for dividing ASEAN states in their dealings with China. In this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, Johanna Son says that  the Beijing-dominated forum that is far from neutral for smaller states. LMC could also undercut the ASEAN centrality the organisation so values.

China’s ‘Water Grab’ and Its Consequences

Southeast Asia’s waters are boiling with politics, tussles involving fishing boats, South China Sea disputes and dam issues in the Mekong – on top of the steaming-hot weather these days. Thitinan Pongsudhirak analyses China’s conduct in the region in this commentary in the ‘Bangkok Post’.

ASEAN at 45: Still Unsettled Over China

SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Straits Times) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) turned 45 on Wednesday. Asean has come a long way, first as a grouping emerging from the Cold War, and now supposedly the world’s most successful regional organization after the European Union.

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