Behind Sino-Japanese Rivalry in the Mekong Subregion

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Nutthathirataa Withitwinyuchon


This research has two main objectives: 1) to identify the causal factors of Sino-Japanese rivalry in the Mekong subregion and 2) to analyze the evolution and aspects of Sino-Japanese rivalry in the Mekong. As the analytical tool, this paper applied the power-based approach-realism and power transition theories. This study is qualitative research, which relies on both primary and secondary sources. The information derived from the semi-structured interview will only be used as a supplement.

The study reveals that the power shift between China and Japan is the principal cause that spurs rivalry between the two Asian powers whereas conflicting interests between the rivals add negative energy into the chain of actions and reactions and thus sustain their rivalry. Areas of overlapping interests between the two countries appear in the realms of strategic importance, geopolitics, and economy in the case of the Mekong subregion.


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