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Belt and Nope: Southeast Asia doesn’t trust China

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SOUTHEAST Asian countries, among some of biggest benefactors of Chinese investment, do not trust Beijing and believe their governments should be cautious when negotiating on President Xi Jinping’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative.

Falling into the trap of unsustainable debt was a concern of the 70 percent of respondents who didn’t fully trust the Chinese initiative. The survey, released Monday by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, polled 1,008 respondents from all ten nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean), drawn from government, academic and business communities, civil society and the media.

This distrust and urge for caution were felt strongest in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

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The majority of Southeast Asians believe China’s growing interest in the area will place the region under too much Chinese influence and run the risk of........

© Asian Correspondent