Cambodia’s postponement of an important military exercise with its closest ally has more to do with the county’s foreign policy and shifting relations with Washington than COVID-19.
The Mekong’s normal flow can be restored if large volumes of water are consistently and reliably released from Chinese dam reservoirs. However, China’s water policy shows Beijing is unlikely to change its behavior and the worst for the Mekong is yet to come.
A new report shows rising trust in the US among Southeast Asia’s upper classes, along with anxiety about China’s dominance and a continued commitment to neutrality.
China has found major buyers for its COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia, even after studies of its Sinovac vaccine have reported wildly divergent efficacy results. The growing acceptance of Beijing’s vaccine without globally-recognized clinical trial results may end up undermining China’s image as a credible vaccine supplier.
It is unclear if Cambodia’s apparent criticism of Chinese coronavirus vaccines is meant to refute the country’s reputation as China’s proxy. If that is the case, then Cambodia needs to do far more to introduce balance to its foreign policy.
The US has placed conditions on its aid to Cambodia over the kingdom’s human rights violations and growing ties to China. The change is not likely to achieve any major changes unless the US comes with an offer that matches China’s commitment to the current regime in Cambodia.
China’s construction of a fence along parts of its varied border with Myanmar has prompted questions about Beijing’s changing approach to the frontier.
The recent release of a statement clarifying Malaysia’s stance of non-extradition for Uyghur Muslims may push its carefully managed-relationship with China into uncharted territory.
The geopolitics of the Mekong river continue to evolve, with key announcements from China, Thailand and the Mekong River Commission.
India decided to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last year. What impact will this decision have on its engagements with ASEAN nations now that the 15-party trade agreement has been approved?