Chinese-funded projects along the Mekong River are increasingly facing pushback from governments and environmentalists in the region as water levels drop due to drought and the construction of large dams. In an attempt to address these concerns, Vietnam plans to add the Mekong River to ASEAN's agenda this year, Nikkei reports.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the Competing Visions of Japan, India, and other regional powers, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
As the U.S.-China trade war drives Chinese enterprises and other companies to relocate, Southeast Asian countries are constructing industrial parks and using tax incentives to attract manufacturers. As a result, Chinese corporate investment in Thailand is expected to increase by 30 percent this year, and foreign direct investment in Malaysia roughly doubled, Nikkei reports.
Vietnam's demand for energy has grown at 13 percent per year since 2000. Traditionally, Vietnam has satisfied this demand with electricity generated by coal and hydropower. Moving forward, Vietnam is seeking to attract investment in renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind and solar, Nikkei reports.
Southeast Asia is proving to be a hotbed for China's Belt and Road Initiative according to two new reports, with Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Vietnam topping the list of countries with the most contracts and investment out of an estimated $11 billion in the region overall in the first half of 2019, Nikkei reports.
While Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects have sparked concerns in recipient countries, the shift of Chinese manufacturing overseas has been embraced when it comes with technology transfer and job creation for locals, Nikkei reports.
Southeast Asian nations are investing in their urban rail infrastructure to ease road congestion impeding their further economic growth. In Hanoi, road congestion costs Vietnam as much as $1.2 billion in 2018, reports Nikkei.
Thailand and Vietnam have announced plans to start 5G services as early as 2020. The Southeast Asian nations are scrambling to introduce 5G networks, determined not to fall behind developed nations, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Southeast Asia’s strategic importance for China, the United States, Japan, and others, and the advantages that will come with control over data flows, mean that the region’s decisions on digital infrastructure and internet governance will have implications that far transcend business outcomes.
Huawei's Vietnam chief says the company has received assurances from the country's communications minister that Vietnam remains "open" to Huawei's 5G technology. This comes on the heels of European countries announcing they will reconsider telecommunications partnerships with Huawei due to information security concerns.
It is clear that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) carries important implications not only for the world’s water resources, but also for politics in BRI countries. One of the worst outcomes would be for it to exacerbate the growing number of local conflicts over shared, and often shrinking, water resources.
Vietnam's government has re-introduced a previously rejected plan for a high-speed railway that would connect the country's north and south. Under the current proposal, the government would cover 80% of the project's cost, fueling concern that funding the railway would be irresponsible.
Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the state-owned marine transporter known as Vinalines, won approval recently to build two large container terminals at Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in a $302 million project.
The leaders of Japan and five Southeast Asian countries agreed to adopt a new policy that pushes forward more than 150 projects in the Mekong region using official development assistance from Japan.
Vietnam's Ministry of Investment and Planning issued a warning to its government about Chinese development assistance, citing concerns of high interest rates, project overruns, and a lack of local contribution to the projects.
Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have announced the The Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Fund. The fund aims to help Southeast Asia become more financially self-reliant and reduce its dependence on external economic and political giants, particularly China.
Read the full article [here](https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Southeast-Asian-fund-can-complement-Chinese-investment-by
The U.S.'s recently announced plan to invest $113 million in infrastructure throughout the Indo-Pacific region will have a limited impact and pales in comparison to China's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, according to Dr. James Crabtree of the National University of Singapore.
Chinese infrastructure investment throughout Southeast Asia has shifted the tide of opinion, simultaneously supporting authoritarian politics in certain states and engendering opposition to Belt and Road in others, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Vietnam plans to develop the largest solar plant in the ASEAN region, a 420-megawatt facility located in Tay Ninh in southwestern Vietnam. Talks are underway with several local and international financial institutions for project funding for the $420 million project.
Five nations that share the Mekong River: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam adopted a five-year master development plan during the 2018 ACMECS summit in Bangkok. The plan vowed to upgrade roads, power grids, and other pieces of infrastructure that connect and strengthen the region.
Vietnamese president Tran Dai Quang said he expects Japan will help Vietnam improve the quality of his country's infrastructure through the use of private funds, public-private partnerships, and build-operate-transfer schemes.
In the face of uncertainty about how the U.S. and China will respond to regional challenges, South Korea will likely continue to opt for flexible partnerships, such as with Russia, where specific interests overlap or converge.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes all ten ASEAN leaders to New Dehli in an attempt to strengthen trade and connectivity with the bloc.
Reconnecting Asia is tracking developments across a vast landmass that includes 60 percent of the global economy. Every day, new infrastructure projects are announced, some are advanced, and others encounter obstacles. Here is a selection of the top projects to watch in 2018.
New projections show India's economy becoming third largest in the world, with other major ASEAN nations surging forward to propel Asian economic growth.
Thai company plans to develop industrial parks in its cheaper neighboring countries along the Mekong River, where it bets manufacturing will pick up.
Vietnam signs the contract on Wednesday to develop a coal-fired power plant, the first time the country has turned to private companies to finance infrastructure.
The Vietnamese government is giving mixed reviews on a Japanese-built bridge in northern Vietnam, the 15.6km Tan Vu-Lach Huyen Bridge, which is the country's longest sea bridge.
In order to maintain its self-imposed debt ceiling, Vietnam is turning to the private sector to finance big infrastructure projects such as the Ho Chi Minh City metro railway.