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Transforming (Sub)Regional Order(s): The Three-Layered Order of the Greater Mekong Subregion

Narut Charoensri, Bruce Avasadanond


The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is a subregion in Southeast Asia, where regional development is influenced by ‘order.’ This order is complicated by international superpowers (US, China, Japan, Australia, India), ASEAN’s political and economic configurations, and the subregional order of GMS’s political and economic interests. Each order has different characteristics and intentions, constituted by two sets of power relations: (1) the relations between cross-regional order and regional initiatives, and (2) the relations between regional and subregional order that affect GMS member countries. With these power relations, this paper argues that there is a three-layered order shaping GMS geopolitics, which is formed by the rivalry among the US, China, Japan and a set of economic and political ideologies. This order is reconfiguring power relations and shaping regional development trajectory, particularly regional transportation development, which in turn is transforming the GMS member countries and the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program.


Three-Layered Order; Greater Mekong Subregion; China; Japan; USA

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