Event Reports

China Talk 19

US - China Competition in the Southeast Asia

On May 11th 2022, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Vietnam and Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam jointly held the 19th edition of the China talk series. Until now, 18 China Talks have been carried out with different topics ranging from China’s foreign and security affairs to domestic politics such as analyzing the Communist Party Congresses or assessing Chinese Soft Power. And the 19th edition focused on US - China Competition in the Southeast Asia.

During his one-hour-lecture, the world leading sinologist Prof. David Shambaugh from George Washington University analyzed the changing dynamics of US-China relations in Southeast Asia. Prof. Shambaugh outlined the geopolitical and geostrategic significance of Southeast Asia in US and China policy. He shared perspectives and views on the competition between the two great powers and the approaches of Southeast Asian countries. According to Prof. Shambaugh, competition between major powers will continue to linger in the region; however, the level of the rivalry will be contained to competitive coexistence.

During the discussion session, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Hoo Tiang Boon from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore and Dr. Le Dinh Tinh from Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, DAV made some comments on the topic of big country competition presented by Prof. Shambaugh.

The China Talk 19 could not have been more timely! For on the one hand, it was organized 1-day right before the commencement of US-ASEAN Special Summit (12-15 May in Washington DC). This summit was intended to demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to ASEAN, recognize its central role in delivering sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges. And on the other hand, there are the relations between China and Russia and the war in Ukraine. The consultations between Moscow and Beijing in the run-up to the Russian attack on Ukraine showed once more, that Russian–Chinese coordination has steadily intensified over the past 8 years. Common military exercises, intensified cooperation in the area of technology and implementation of 5G, increase of trade and energy business or voting practices in the United Nations seem to point to a potential new alliance between Moscow and Beijing. According to some analysts, intensified cooperation between China and Russia can be explained by the worsening relationship between Moscow and the West as well as the great power competition between the US and China. And this is also something that surely creates some concerns here in the region, not least in Vietnam. This timely expert discussion has provided some new insights and generated interesting perspectives on power shifts and competitive coexistence. 

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Vu Thi Thu Phuong

Vu Phuong

Project Manager

Phuong.Vu@kas.de +84 24 3 7186194 /17 +84 24 37186197