Trade is the new coloniser

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's 30 years since China had a short but bloody war with its southern neighbour Vietnam.
When Vietnam got rid of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, China was so annoyed that the political party it had set up they they decided to 'Vietnam a lesson' by trying to put Pol Pot back in power. Despite Pol Pot killing a quarter of Cambodia's population.
So China sided with the Khmer Rouge, and together they attacked Vietnam along its borders. It only lasted a month, but claimed 50,000 lives.
Really, China should apologize for what it did. But it goes quiet.
China is quite happy to nag Japan for not saying sorry for its invasion.

What is happening now, is that China is trying 'soft power' to influence other nations, mainly through trade links and ties, and in particular through allowing Chinese nations to move to its neighbours and set up shop.

For example, in Cambodia, Chinese firms are engaged in mining and logging, and have built roads, bridges, garment factories, power plants, casinos and resorts, investing about $1.5 billion in 2007.A Cambodian investment group and a Chinese textile firm have committed three billion dollars to a joint venture, in Sihanoukville, modelled along the lines of China's tax-free special economic zones.

Vietnam is also full of Chinese traders, and the Asian Development Bank is funding a new highway between Hanoi and Kunming, which will reduce the drive to less than 24 hours. China takes the resources, uses the cheap labour, and gets access to the markets.

In 2010, China and ASEAN are due to launch the first stage of a trade agreement, reducing tariffs on trade between China and the five founding countries of the bloc - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. In 2015, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma will also join the trade bloc.
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