With far-reaching implications for the upcoming elections in Myanmar and with the US tentatively wading into river governance, the Mekong region has become a contentious staging ground for China’s wider goals in Southeast Asia.
Sebastian Strangio’s new book In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century draws on his more than a decade of reporting in the region to explore China’s influence from Laos to Indonesia. The Mekong region, in particular, shares borders and a long history with the country and is grappling with major infrastructure projects backed by China and national governments.
China Dialogue spoke with Strangio on the challenges facing Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.