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Contemporary Chinese Strategy In East And Southeast Asia: Beijing’s Discourse And Development Finance Since The 2000s

The Asian region has become inhabited by few rising powers since late 20th century, triggering the debate on multipolarity and power transition in the region. On the one hand, shared historical past and sociocultural background may provide point of convergence and strengthen the existing stable state of affairs. On the other, comparable development challenges produce similar aims and strategies, fostering competition for scarce resources and leading to a regional zero-sum game. It ought to be especially true in the face of the rising China. Contemporary regional agenda of East and Southeast Asia, hence, is claimed to be substantially affected by Chinese power politics and ambitions, especially regarding mutually beneficial cooperation on development. Thus, discourse analysis of the respective context and agenda should be applied in order to study compatibility of national and regional goals. To do this, the author studies dominant approaches to Chinese regionalism and outcomes of economic policy focusing on the case of development finance. The analysis is performed using mixed research methods, including Foucauldian discourse, content analyses, descriptive statistics, and geographic mapping. The distribution of development aid and investments has highlighted that financial assistance might be politicized and used as a tool for subtle promotion of Chinese policy objectives, rather than as a driving force of collective regional development.