Indonesia, Sept. 2015: Chinese Ambassador to Asean Xu Bu speaks at the association’s forum; its members are wary of China’s political ambition in the region but also mindful of the role Chinese trade plays in their economies (source: dpa)

Asean split by spectre of Chinese guns and money

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) operates under the motto ‘One Vision, One Identity, One Community.’ Recently, however, the bloc has not been so unified. A schism between its 10 member states is growing over China, their giant neighbour to the north. It is a divide that threatens to derail the bloc’s economic development and integration into a larger free-trade area, whether under the aegis of the United States or China, writes GIS expert Cameron Frecklington.

China and the countries of Southeast Asia have a complicated relationship, closely bound by economic ties, yet locked in an increasingly tense confrontation in the South China Sea. Asean is a diverse political...

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 Cameron Frecklington
Any escalation of tensions in the South China Sea could undermine the strong economic cooperation between the Asean countries and China. Anti-Chinese feeling already runs high in Vietnam, as manifested by frequent street protests and riots
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