ASEAN. Image from Flickr, courtesy of sbmueller.

ASEAN. Image from Flickr, courtesy of sbmueller.

SDSC scholars on managing the great powers in Southeast Asia

22 February 2016

The tension around the South China Sea has shown no sign of diminishing. China keeps flexing its muscles, as aircraft land on newly built runways on artificial islands and warnings are issued to any who dare to traverse close by.

The United States is increasingly clear about its willingness to use a show of force to defend freedom of navigation. On January 30, a US navy destroyer demonstrated this by passing a short distance from one of the Paracel Islands to China’s consternation. On the front lines watching this confrontation are the littoral states of Southeast Asia.

The Special Forum, recently published in the online Asan Forum, examines recent thinking in Australia and three states in ASEAN—Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. The coverage reaches beyond their attitudes to the Sino-US struggle over sovereignty and freedom of navigation to broader questions of foreign policy, emphasizing how domestic leadership is impacting strategic choices as the regional security situation grows more dangerous.

The Special Forum analyses thinking about new, maritime challenges, reviews recent reassessments in these countries, and draws together views in the Southeast Asian states in comparisons.

Professor Evelyn Goh, member of the Asan Forum editorial board, and Director of Research at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) based at the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, said the Special Forum focuses on the strategic thinking behind the political and security policies of key Southeast Asian states in ASEAN.

She explained that “the Special Forum brings together a collection of papers and contributors from the conference to launch the Graduate Research and Development Network on Asian Security (GRADNAS) last September.”

“The papers highlight the breadth of expertise on Asian security that we have at SDSC, and demonstrates the type of empirical and conceptual research and collaboration we aim to foster.”

“We are particularly pleased to have been able to include essays in this collection by one of our recently-graduated PhD students, and one of our current PhD students.”

The authors in the Special Forum are Do Thanh Hai, Evelyn Goh, Jürgen Haacke, Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto, and Brendan Taylor.

The Asan Forum is an open-access online publication for in-depth interpretation of rapid changes across the Asia-Pacific region; the articles in the Special Forum are free to read and download.

 

List of articles in the Special Forum:

Introduction to the Special Forum: Editorial Staff

Southeast Asian Strategies toward the Great Powers: Still Hedging after All These Years?: Evelyn Goh

Vietnam’s Management of China’s Maritime Assertiveness in the Post-Cold War Period: Do Thanh Hai

Developing Indonesia’s Maritime Strategy under President Jokowi: Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto

Myanmar and Maritime Security: Jürgen Haacke

Australia and Asia’s Maritime Disputes: Continuity amidst Chaos: Brendan Taylor

 

Abstracts in this article were first published in the Introduction to the Special Forum.

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