Why do Southeast Asian states continue hedging despite growing threat perceptions towards China and increased pressure associated with great power competition? Based on three case studies (Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines), this thesis argues that a range of factors explain the persistence of hedging: uncertainty regarding U.S.-China rivalry; mixed views of China; a lack of consensus regarding threats; fear of alienating China; uncertainties about U.S. credibility; and a preference for self-help strategies. This project advances a neoclassical realist framework to show how domestic factors, including regime type, historical legacies, and leaders’ perceptions, produce variations in hedging across Southeast Asian states.

About the speaker 
Hunter Marston commenced his PhD at ANU in 2019. His research focuses on how Southeast Asian states are responding to great power competition. In particular, his thesis explores the persistence of hedging in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. His other research interests include US foreign policy, state-society relations and electoral politics in Southeast Asia, and Myanmar.

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