Southeast Asia's steady economic rise on the world stage

Japanese manufacturers Honda and Nissan produce cars in Thailand (photo:dpa)
Japanese manufacturers Honda and Nissan produce cars in Thailand (photo:dpa)

The fortunes of many Southeast Asian countries are looking up. Four key players – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – are gaining political clout on the world stage. These and others in the region are also experiencing economic success and are providing an alternative to doing business with China.

CHINA was the first country Shinzo Abe visited when he was newly-elected Prime Minister of Japan in 2006. At that time, Tokyo had high hopes of improving its relationship with Beijing, which had suffered under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. But these hopes were never realised.

The relationship between the two economic giants gradually worsened and reac...

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