By Jingxuan Wang, George Washington University
Given that the United States and China are competing for greater economic and political influence in Southeast Asia, this paper addresses the question of whether the United States and China can significantly influence the political activity of countries in 10 countries in Southeast Asia (ASEAN) through the use of economic means. I gathered the voting behavior data of China, the U.S. and ASEAN in the United Nations General Assembly, analyzed the international economic trend and multinational political structure in Southeast Asia area, and ran linear regressions which compared the effect of foreign direct investment and trade from the United States and China, separately, on the shift of voting behavior in ASEAN. Interestingly, the results of the analysis reject my hypothesis that increased economic influence would result in closer voting alignment. The paper will conclude with an exploration of possible explanations for these surprising results and speculate further studies to continue exploring this question.
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