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China and Cambodia: In the Mirror of History

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In recent years, China has been paying greater attention to Southeast Asia and to Cambodia in particular, says Nayan Chanda, director of publications at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. This interest is not new however, but reflects a partial return to the foreign policy followed by the leaders of China since the days of the Ming dynasty. Historically, China had not been interested in active involvement in Indochina, preferring to limit its role to policies that kept its southern neighbors in check and the region free of influence from another challenging power. This tradition of noninterference was broken in the 1970s, amidst increasing tension between the Soviet Union and China, and the beginning of the Sino-American d├ętente in 1971, which changed the international context of China's foreign policy. Chanda points out that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a surge in Chinese aid, private investment, dispatch of labor and support for the growing local ethnic Chinese community in Cambodia.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1343900022000036043

Publication date: November 1, 2002

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