Since the Communist Party’s 20th National Party Congress, Beijing has been adopting a “divide-and-conquer” strategy in its foreign policy with the Southeastern countries. It does not like multilateral relationships (China is likely to be against working with a group of countries), but prefers bilateralism (China has a bigger advantage in a one-on-one relationship) instead. Using its economic power. China has already captured Cambodia and Laos and is now working on Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Take Vietnam as an example. Sino-Vietnam trade increased 10 percent in the first nine months of this year, from the same period a year ago. Imports from China counted for 70 percent of Vietnam’s total imports.
Beijing invited Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party, to visit China at the end of October. He was the first foreign dignitary to visit China after the closing of the 20th Party National Congress. Both sides issued a joint statement, including a plan to accelerate cooperation between China’s “Belt & Road Initiative” and Vietnam’s “Two Corridors and One Circle” framework.
Later, Indonesian President Jokowi greeted Xi Jinping at a bilateral meeting following the G20 Indonesia Summit in Bali. Jokowi called Xi “elder brother.”
President Marcos of the Philippines visited Beijing in January and the two countries signed over ten agreements under the “Belt & Road Initiative” framework.
Source: China News, January 5, 2023