Zhai Kun

Professor, Peking University

Zhai Kun is a professor at the School of International Studies, Associate Dean of the Institution of Area Studies, and a Research Fellow at Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University. He is an Expert and Eminent Person of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the Deputy Director of the Global Center for Lancang-Mekong River Studies. His research interests include China's international strategy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Southeast Asia. He has established a leading interdisciplinary research to systematically carry out academic and applied research on BRI. He is also the founder and convener of the BRI Big Data Innovation Application Alliance.

A view of the Mekong river bordering Thailand and Laos is seen from the Thai side in Nong Khai, Thailand, 29 October 2019. (Soe Zeya Tun/REUTERS)

Chinese academics: Mekong must not become second South China Sea

China said that it would share year-round hydrological information of the upper Mekong with downstream countries during the recently concluded 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting held via video conference. Will this help assuage fears that China is using the control of water flow in the Mekong as a lever, literally, to exert greater influence on the CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) countries in ASEAN? Chinese academics Zhai Kun and Deng Han warn that China and Southeast Asian countries must be wary of external forces politicising matters in the Mekong region.