Chinese FDI in Southeast Asia and Local Politics 


As China’s investment profile throughout Southeast Asia has grown, some projects have come under intense criticism and stalled amid local conflict while others have successfully moved ahead. What factors have accounted for the successes and failures of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Southeast Asia? The answers have important implications for China’s future projects in the region and the development of Southeast Asian countries. Looking at individual case studies from maritime and mainland Southeast Asia, three key determinants could be identified in the success and failure of Chinese projects throughout the last decade: domestic politics in host countries, the role of the civil society, and the evolution of Chinese practice.

Please join Kavi Chongkittavorn from the East West Center, Alvin Camba from Johns Hopkins University, and Courtney Weatherby at Stimson Center for a discussion on the successes and failures of Chinese FDI in Southeast Asia and their correlation with domestic politics in Southeast Asian countries. This session will also try to assess the impact of Chinese FDI over the political and economic development in Southeast Asia.


WHAT: The Stimson Center’s East Asia and Southeast Asia programs are co-hosting a discussion with Southeast Asia specialists on how domestic politics in Southeast Asia affects Chinese FDI. The event is on-the-record.
WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036
WHEN: Friday, May 11, 2018, 10:00-11:30 AM 
RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.
FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonNow to join the conversation.




Alvin A. Camba, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, Johns Hopkins University; a non-resident fellow, Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRI).

Camba uses mixed-methods approaches to derive the determinants of [Chinese] foreign direct investment, the dynamics of elite competition, and the political-economic effects of capital mobility on the developing world. He has been awarded the Terence K. Hopkins Best Graduate Student Paper Award (honorable mention) from the American Sociological Association, the Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Publication Research Award (honorable mention) from the Critical Realism Research Network, and the pre-Dissertation fellowship from the Southeast Asian Research Group.

Kavi Chongkittavorn, Asian Studies Fellow, East West Center; Senior fellow, Chulalongkorn University’s Institute of Security and International Studies

Until the end of 2017, Chongkittavorn was the editor-in-chief and executive director of Myanmar Times. He has been a journalist for more than three and half decades covering Thai and regional politics. He began his career as a reporter in 1983 and became the paper’s foreign news editor in 1986. Then, he was asked to explore Indochina—first as Bureau Chief in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (1988-1990) and later in Hanoi, Vietnam (1990-1992). After a year in Oxford University as Reuter Fellow in 1994, he went to Jakarta and served as Special Assistant to the Secretary General of ASEAN in Jakarta in 1995 before returning to journalism. From 2000-2001, he went to Harvard University as Nieman Fellow. He served as a member of jury and from 2005-2008 as its chair of Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize organized by UNESCO.

Courtney Weatherby, Research Analyst, Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center

Weatherby’s research focuses on infrastructure development, climate change, and energy issues in Southeast Asia, particularly the food-water-energy nexus in the Mekong River basin and China’s investment in regional energy infrastructure. She holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Dickinson College. Before joining Stimson in 2014, Weatherby interned with the Center for Strategic International Studies, the State Department, and Human Rights Watch.

Yun Sun (moderator), co-Director, East Asia Program; Director of the China Program, Stimson Center

Sun expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes. From 2011 to early 2014, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program, where she focused on Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Yun was the China Analyst for the International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specializing on China’s foreign policy towards conflict countries and the developing world. Yun earned her master’s degree in international policy and practice from George Washington University, as well as an MA in Asia Pacific studies and a BA in international relations from Foreign Affairs College in Beijing.

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