S.E.A. View

Asean unity and the role of China's Belt and Road Initiative

In the dynamics of China-Asean relations, China has often been blamed for taking advantage of disagreements within Asean to maximise its own interests.

Frequently, China is perceived as having used its economic leverage to divide Asean members, thus preventing Asean from developing some sort of unity in its approach to China. One frequently cited example is Asean's failure to issue a joint statement at the 45 th Asean Ministerial Meeting in July 2012 because Cambodia, as the meeting's chair, declined to include references to incidents in the South China Sea in the final communique.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2018, with the headline 'Asean unity and the role of China's Belt and Road Initiative'. Print Edition | Subscribe