Assignment on China-Southeast Asian Economic Relations in the 21st Century

This paper introduces the evolving features of China-Southeast Asian economic relations since the beginning of the 21st century from the aspects of bilateral trade, cross-investment, and other forms of economic cooperation, and explores the driving forces of accelerating the economic relations of both sides from the different perspectives of global, regional and country level. It analyzes the problems that exist and predicts the opportunities and challenges brought forth to the Southeast Asian countries by China’s economic adjustment and large-scale industrial restructuring and rejuvenation programme under the context of global economic recession. Keywords: China and Southeast Asia, economic relations, evolving features and challenges. This paper is divided into four sections. Section 1 is the introduction of the whole paper. Section 2 introduces the evolving features of China-Southeast Asian economic relations since the beginning of the 21st century from the aspects of bilateral trade, cross-investment, and other forms of economic cooperation such as trade in service, financial cooperation, tourist cooperation as well as China’s aid and assistance to the new ASEAN member countries. Section 3 explores the driving forces of accelerating the economic relations of both sides from the different perspectives of global, regional and country level. Section 4 further analyzes the problems that exist and predicts the opportunities and challenges brought forth to the Southeast Asian countries by China’s economic adjustment and a large-scale industrial restructuring and rejuvenation programme under the context of global economic recession.


The 21st century has witnessed evolving characteristics of economic relations between China and its close neighbours – the ASEAN-10 member countries.The bilateral economic relations between China and Southeast Asian countries have unprecedentedly increased in almost one decade of the 21st century from 2000 to 2013. In addition to the booming trade in both goods and services, mutual investment, particularly Chinese investment to its neighbouring countries is also increasing, hence changing the almost “one way” situation in the area. Some other types of economic cooperation, such as tourist cooperation and financial coordination have also been expanding. China is becoming a major source of foreign trade and foreign investment to ASEAN countries and even one of the major sources of foreign aid or assistance to the new ASEAN member countries, in particular Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. Southeast Asian countries are becoming the tourist destination of the Chinese people, a phenomenon increasingly attracting worldwide attention from the political, academic and business circles. Complex forces and multifarious factors are contributing to the gaining momentum of China’s growing economic contacts with ASEAN member countries. At the global level, the driving forces of “globalization from above”, as well as the driving forces of “globalization from below”, are recognized as the major impetus in promoting the bilateral economic contacts as China and most of the ASEAN countries are in the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the regional level, various kinds of regional economic cooperation are playing important roles with the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area at the centre and the bilateral free trade agreement and sub-regional economic cooperation as the accessories. In addition, the “good neighbour”diplomacy implemented by the Chinese government has also brought about a direct and positive effect on closer China-ASEAN bilateral economic

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