Mainland Southeast Asia is rapidly creating unprecedented connections at the local, regional, and global scales. Today, friendship bridges, multi-lane highways and high speed railways link Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam together for the first time in history, directly tying all five countries to southern China. This research will consider how the increase will consider how the increasing integration should be conceptualised, and if concepts such as "spheres of influence" or "hegemony" are useful. It will assist in enhancing future policy-making as well as providing significant contributions to the literature on this emerging topic. This project will also update understanding of how the Belt and Road and ASEAN Connectivity initiatives impact and are constituted by borderland dynamics, especially in Yunnan province. The proposal is for three activities. Firstly, a two-day workshop at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand brings together experts from Australia, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to exchange perspectives on the issues above. Secondly, fieldwork tracing a key node in the Belt and Road Initiative extending from Bangkok through Laos to Kunming in China's Yunnan province. Thirdly, a formal seminar for China in the World (CIW) researchers as ANU, highlighting key findings and contributing to CIW objectives.
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