Pongphisoot Busbarat

Pongphisoot Busbarat

Lecturer, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Dr Pongphisoot Busbarat is Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

Fishermen pull in their fishing nets as the sun rises over the Mekong river in Phnom Penh on 9 June 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Major powers react to rising Chinese influence in Mekong

In recent years, the Mekong subregion has seen a renewed engagement of external powers, particularly the US, Japan, and South Korea, mainly due to the China factor. This re-enmeshment signifies an intense power competition in Southeast Asia, in light of China’s increasing economic and political clout. Thai academic Pongphisoot Busbarat cautions that Southeast Asian states need to send a clear signal to external powers that increasing cooperation with them does not equate to choosing sides.