in: Asia-Europe Journal of EU Studies 14 (1), 1-24
China’s importance, influence and relevance as a development actor in Asia is on the rise. While the European Union and its member states have long played a strong role in shaping trade and development cooperation in Asia, China’s recent regional engagement can hardly be overestimated. While the EU’s stated intention in international cooperation is to promote sustainable global development, participatory and equitable trade, as well as peace and security, China’s primary goals have frequentlybeen less clear, and in many instances linked to political and economic objectives. This article therefore explores the EU’s and China’s means and ends of international cooperation, and what they may reveal about genuine intentions in two ‘String of Pearls’ countries, namely Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In a broader perspective, this research further aims at exploring the extent to which it is advantageous for development countries in Asia to involve a China as a predominant development actor as compared to engaging with an extra-regional partner, such as the EU.