Assignment on Sino- Asean Security Cooperation

As a student in International Relations Studies, I have often valued relations between states and regional forum to understand the socio/economic/political situation of the present. Despite the fact that the topic of this assignment is focusing primarily on SINO-ASEAN security relations since the end of the cold war. China's past role in the area turns out to be an important factor in explaining the behavior of Southeast Asia countries as well as China itself. The historical and political relationships between China and the region to the south date back almost two thousand years.

The China-ASEAN strategic partnership celebrated its 10th anniversary on August 2, 2013 in Bangkok. The host Thailand coordinated this landmark partnership meeting and one of the talking points at this event was “China’s rise”. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, the permanent secretary of Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry stated, China is rising and we believe that this is definitely a peaceful rise. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed concerns over China’s rise and stated that “there is nothing to be surprised” and that China’s development is an “opportunity for ASEAN”. While the decade old strategic partnership between China and ASEAN is certainly an occasion for celebration from the purview of their bilateral engagement.

In the first part of this assignment, I take an historical approach in order to identify the different aspect of political and strategic ties between China and ASEAN over the years. The second part of this assignment will focus on relations between China and ASEAN at multiple levels. The third part will deal with impediments to built good relations and other external factors and later on I have put concluding remarks.

Relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) experienced tremendous change over the course of the past 15 years. Discussions of their relations have focused mostly on concerns about China’s ongoing military modernization and activities in the South China Sea, given post-Cold War changes in the U.S. strategic commitment to Southeast Asia. Surely, there are few actors in the world that will be as affected by the rising power and influence of China as ASEAN’s member-states. Still, the focus on such security concerns has also tended to oversimplify the Sino-ASEAN relationship, ignoring the significant ways that the relationship has evolved and improved over the past decade, politically. An examination of the past decade of Sino-ASEAN relations, especially, illustrates that a changing global context has given rise to important opportunities to forge closer relations, as much as it has fostered challenges. Indeed, of the great powers, China has made the most gains in terms of its relations with Southeast Asia. To understand the dynamics and significance of recent developments in Sino-ASEAN relations, however, they must be placed in their proper historical context.