Southeast Asia

An aerial view shows snow-covered terraced fields and houses in Congjiang county, in China's southwestern Guizhou province on 22 January 2024. (AFP)

China’s 'Two Mountains' framework: Varied responses from Southeast Asia

China has long been propagating its “Two Mountains” concept and has expanded it into the Green Silk Road concept as a sustainable climate governance framework. But many Southeast Asian countries have tailored the concept according to their own needs.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (back right) and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (back left) attend a document exchange ceremony with Japan Coast Guard Commandant Shohei Ishii (front right) and Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Ronnie Gil Gavan (front left) at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 17 December 2023. Both countries leaders met on the sidelines of the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. (Franck Robichon/Reuters)

Japan’s arms transfers to Southeast Asia: Upping the ante?

Japan's new Official Security Assistance (OSA) scheme would help arm regional countries in the face of growing Chinese assertiveness. A lesser-known aspect of OSA might actually bring some serious military capabilities to the region in the future.
A Philippine supply boat sails near a Chinese Coast Guard ship during a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed at a grounded warship in the South China Sea, on 4 October 2023. (Adrian Portugal/Reuters)

[Big read] Protracted turbulence ahead in the South China Sea

With the recent statement by ASEAN foreign ministers on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia, unease caused by rising tensions in the South China Sea is once again coming to the fore. How is the situation in the South China Sea set to develop in the coming months? Would the upcoming US presidential election have a major impact?
The Philippine's Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr (left) and Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (right) attend a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on 30 January 2024. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Philippine President Marcos Jr's visit to Vietnam: Creating a 'united front' over South China Sea issue?

President Marcos Jr’s overtures to Vietnam during his recent visit to Hanoi seem to indicate that ASEAN claimant states are starting to “gang up” on China. But the picture is not so clear-cut, says Chinese academic Peng Nian, when one considers Vietnam’s interests and relations with China.
In this photo taken on 11 September 2023, BYD electric cars waiting to be loaded on a ship are stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port at Suzhou Port, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. China's top electric automaker BYD will build a car factory in Hungary, the company said on 22 December 2023, as it eyes expansion in the European market. (AFP)

[Big read] China's global EV expansion despite trade hurdles from the US and EU

As growth in the sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) slows in China, a growing number of Chinese carmakers are speeding up their entry into foreign markets. While rising trade protectionism in Europe and North America is affecting their pace of expansion, Chinese carmakers are exploring new markets in South America and Southeast Asia, and localising their production to achieve breakthroughs. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim speaks with industry insiders to find out more.
Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (in blue tie and spectacles) arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in the Chinese capital on 17 October 2023. (Parker Song/AFP)

Late to the party: Vietnam and the Belt and Road Initiative

Chinese-funded investments into Laos and Cambodia have transformed the geo-economic landscape in Vietnam’s immediate neighbourhood. This has caused Hanoi to give China’s Belt and Road Initiative another look.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (centre right) bids farewell to China's President Xi Jinping (centre left) after their meeting at the Government Office in Hanoi on 13 December 2023. China and Vietnam pledged on 12 December to deepen ties during President Xi Jinping's first visit in six years. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Xi Jinping in Hanoi: Courting Vietnam for a common destiny?

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hanoi presented an opportunity for Beijing to draw Vietnam closer into its sphere of influence, especially since Vietnam has recently upgraded ties with the US and Japan. However, Vietnam’s foreign policy will continue to strike a delicate balance between China and the West.
The opening ceremony of the Peace and Friendship-2023 military exercise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, on 13 November 2023. (Xinhua)

China's military exercises with Southeast Asian nations likely to rise in frequency and scale

A recent land and maritime exercise among China and five Southeast Asian countries highlights some emerging trends but breaks little new ground.
A Mixue Ice Cream & Tea outlet in Johor Bahru. (Photo: Claudia Liao)

Mixue, ChaGee, Luckin: F&B brands boosting China's soft power in Southeast Asia?

As China tries to sell its soft power, one channel it is tapping into is its food and beverage industry, with brands like Mixue and Luckin Coffee moving into overseas markets. Alongside its tech exports like smartphones, can China convince others of its products and improve its image?