Influences, Unintended Consequences, and Ripple Effects: Conceptualizing the Presence of China in Mainland Southeast Asia

19 Oct 2020 (Mon)

Abstract:  Existing studies on China’s relations with Southeast Asia tend to focus on China’s power dynamics with regional states, and how such power has been used to achieve influence in the region. Focusing on the intentionality, influence is thus defined as how China uses its power to coerce, induce, and persuade others to behave in a particular way. Relatedly, much emphasis has been put on the Chinese state as the willing agent. This talk goes beyond such convention, and intends to explore, in addition to influences, what are the unintended consequences and ripple effects related with the presence of China in Southeast Asia. This talk thus lays down a typology for thinking through the varieties of China’s presence in Southeast Asia in their everyday forms. It argues that we need to understand such complexity to make sense of China’s relations with Southeast Asia and the implications of such relations.