China and the Mekong states: Divergent responses to Chinese initiatives

In June 2018, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) held its eighth summit in Bangkok. ACMECS countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. Initially an initiative of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003, there were few indications that the Thai government under Prime Minister General Prayut Chan o-cha had any interest in reviving AMECS until the eighth summit.

At the summit, Prayut launched the ACMECS Master Plan 2019–2023 and proposed the establishment of a fund for new projects under the scheme. The Master Plan is an ambitious programme that includes initiatives on infrastructure and transportation, digital infrastructure, energy networks, harmonisation of trade and investment rules, financial cooperation and human resource development.

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Selina Ho