chapter  2
26 Pages

Southeast Asia and China in the 1990s: engagement and hedging

Two game changing events book ended Asia in the 1990s: the end of the Cold War, signalled by the worldwide retreat of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the financial crisis of 1997-8 which battered the economies of East and Southeast Asia and changed the political landscape of many of those affected. A period of great flux and turmoil for the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the decade was also marked by phenomenal economic advancement and the proliferation of multilateral forums designed to build, from the ground up, a new and inclusive regional architecture aimed at advancing peace and prosperity. These events and trends were instrumental in bringing the countries of Southeast Asia and China closer together despite friction over territorial claims. This chapter charts the development of Sino-Southeast Asia relations against the backdrop of those momentous changes.