Since the end of the war in Vietnam and the withdrawal of the American presence there, a marked realignment of power has taken place in Southeast Asia. The old rivalry between China and the United States has become a relationship of cautious rapprochement, while Sino-Soviet competition has been intensified by China's fear that the USSR will move to fill the power vacuum created by the U.S. departure. The United States no longer perceives a friendly Sino-Southeast Asian relationship to be as much of a danger to its security interests as it once did, but how that relationship develops remains of considerable importance to this country. In this book, Edwin Martin examines some of the principal factors in China's current relations with the Southeast Asian countries— China's domestic policies, Peking-oriented insurgency in Southeast Asian countries, the Overseas Chinese, trade considerations, the policies of third powers—and concludes that the newly emergent nationalism in Southeast Asia,coupled with Sino-Soviet rivalry, indeed diminishes the threat posed by a Communist Indochina and calls for a U.S. policy of encouraging stable relations in the area, both among the countries themselves and between them and the PRC. He asserts that a four-way balance of power— involving the United States, the USSR, the PRC, and Japan—will prevent a power vacuum in the area and will allow the Southeast Asian countries to develop their own strengths, both political and economic. It is thus to the advantage of the United States to encourage all steps toward regional cooperation; U.S. policy, Professor Martin concludes, should neither abandon Southeast Asia, nor attempt to dictate to it.
Foreword -- Introduction -- Chinese Internal Developments -- Peking-Oriented Insurgencies -- Overseas Chinese -- The Economic Factor -- Third-Power Policies -- The Prospects -- Implications for U.S. Policy -- Appendix