The Great Benefits and Sorrows for Cambodia and Laos, with Sebastian Strangio
Season 1, Episode 2
China is the largest source of development assistance and investment in Cambodia and Laos. Both governments maintain close relations with China, where its presence is more marked than anywhere else in Southeast Asia. The region is one of the primary targets for the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with one main line running from Kunming, China to Vientiane, Laos to connect Chinese markets to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar.
Your host: Nico Luchsinger, Co-Executive Director, Asia Society Switzerland
Moderator: Denise Staubli, Program Officer, Asia Society Switzerland
Speaker: Sebastian Strangio, Southeast Asia Editor, The Diplomat
Production: Denise Staubli, Program Officer, Asia Society Switzerland
Sebastian Strangio is a journalist and author focusing on Southeast Asia, and currently works as Southeast Asia Editor at The Diplomat. In 2008, he began his career as a reporter at The Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia, and has since travelled and reported extensively across the ten nations of ASEAN, paying special attention to the impact of China’s growing power. He published his research on the book In the Dragon's Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century (Yale University Press, 2020). He is also the author of Hun Sen’s Cambodia (Yale University Press, 2014), a path-breaking examination of Cambodia since the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Sebastian’s writing has appeared in leading publications including Foreign Affairs, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. Alongside his journalistic work, Sebastian has also consulted for a wide variety of economic risk firms and non-government organizations.
Denise Staubli is currently working as Program Officer for the Asia Society Switzerland. She was a consultant to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat based in Vientiane, Laos after her secondment to the organization by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Before that she worked for the SDC Global Program Water, and other nonprofit and private organizations in the area of sustainable development, with a particular focus on water issues. She co-authored Water diplomacy and conflict management in the Mekong: From rivalries to cooperation (Journal of Hydrology, 2018), and The Mekong River Commission as a water diplomat (chapter 12, River Basin Organizations in Water Diplomacy, Routledge, 2021).
Asia Society Switzerland Mini-Conference The Giant Next Door – China In Southeast Asia, The Case of Cambodia and Laos, November 10, 2020
Asia Society Switzerland Mini-Conference The Giant Next Door – China In Southeast Asia, keynote presentation by Sebastian Strangio, November 10, 2020
In the Dragon's Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century, by Sebastian Strangio, 2020
Asia Society Switzerland Webcast Can Laos Cope With Chinese Megaprojects? with Jessica diCarlo and Susanne Schmeier, May 13, 2020
China has responded to the call for investments in Africa like no other country since the end of the 1990s. Its relationships with African countries has also become ever more political.
In Cambodia and Laos, China is the largest source of development assistance and investment. Both governments maintain close relations with China, where its presence is more marked than anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
The Indo-Pacific being home to significant global trading routes is not only of strategic importance to China. Once again it has become the focus of a global contest for power.
Listen to Asia Society Switzerland's Nico Luchsinger on our first podcast season of China and the World.