At the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum in 2010, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi reminded everyone that “China is a big country and all the other countries are small countries; this is a fact.” Though Brunei is the smallest of all the ASEAN states in both population and GDP, the level of Chinese investment in the sultanate (cumulated direct investment and construction contracts divided by 2018 GDP) is much higher than in most other ASEAN states. This paper analyzes the Belt and Road stakes for both Brunei and China and Brunei’s response to the Chinese proposals, showing that in spite of its smallness, the sultanate still seems able to preserve its own interests to a certain extent, thanks to its balanced foreign policy and its financial resources.
China’s Maritime Nexus in Southeast Asia: Economic and Geostrategic Challenges of the Belt and Road Initiative in Brunei
Marie-Sybille de Vienne is Full Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO, Paris) and Research Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE, Paris). She is the author of Brunei: From the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century (NUS Press, 2015). Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Jérémy Jammes is Full Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at the Lyon Institute of Political Studies (France). He is the co-editor, with Johan Fischer, of Muslim Piety as Economy: Market, Meaning and Morality in Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2020). He was Associate Professor at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam between 2014 and 2020. Email: <email@example.com>.
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Marie-Sybille de Vienne, Jérémy Jammes; China’s Maritime Nexus in Southeast Asia: Economic and Geostrategic Challenges of the Belt and Road Initiative in Brunei. Asian Survey 9 October 2020; 60 (5): 905–927. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2020.60.5.905
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