The “Global South,” a group of emerging and developing countries, has become an indispensable player in building the international order. This is mainly because the current legitimacy of international order rests on the international rules and norms agreed not by a small number of great powers but by the majority of the international community, which belongs to the Global South.

Among that grouping, the subregion that major Indo-Pacific powers focus their attention on is Southeast Asia — the geopolitical and geoeconomic center of the Indo-Pacific region and home to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the core of regional multilateralism in East Asia.

China's Southeast Asia strategy