Changing Regional Dynamics in the Greater Mekong Subregion: The Rivalry between Japan, China and the US and the Impacts to Regional Connectivity
Keywords:China, Japan, Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Greater Mekong Subregion, Connectivity
This paper analyses the impact of the economic and political rivalry between Japan, China and the US upon the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The rivalry is part of the amicable and hostile relations between superpowers within the international system and has significant impacts on regional economic and political arrangements. The emergence of the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) by Japan was welcomed by the US, India, and Australia and brought new factors and conditions to the region. Many scholars argue that the FOIP was a strategy to balance China’s power in the region. The growing power of China’s regional development projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) change the geopolitical and geo-economics configuration in the region significantly. BRI itself integrates many parts of the world into China’s international production network and sphere of influence. This paper argues that the geopolitical rivalry between Japan, China and the US shaped the regional connectivity development in the GMS area. It integrated the GMS into broader geopolitical and geopolitical strategies which are FOIP and China’s BRI.
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