Consigned to hedge: south-east Asia and America's ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ strategy

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This article assesses how south-east Asian countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have responded to the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) strategies promoted by the United States and the other countries in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the ‘Quad’: US, Japan, Australia and India). Their nuanced ripostes imply a persistent commitment to hedging and shifting limited alignments in the face of growing great rivalry and the lack of a clear FOIP vision among Quad members. In the face of external pressure to take sides, the ASEAN states are likely to keep hedging through working selectively with China and the United States. Given the United States' apparent preference to balance China and Trump's disregard for multilateralism, ASEAN's ability to maintain its centrality in the evolving regional architecture is in doubt—despite the Quad countries' (belated) accommodation of ASEAN in their FOIP strategies. However, the success of the US strategy depends on Washington's ability to build and sustain the requisite coalition to balance Beijing. ASEAN has undertaken efforts to enhance bilateral security collaboration with China and the United States respectively. In doing so, ASEAN is arguably seeking to informally redefine its centrality in an era of Great Power discord and its ramifications for multilateralism.

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... Some studies argue that the rise of China in the region was because it was not until 2017, under the Trump administration, that the US revamped its political and economic focus towards the threat coming from China (Campbell and Ratner, 2018;Friedberg, 2018;Liu and Liu, 2019;Yang, 2017). This would later be reflected by the focus of the US on China in its 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (Tan, 2020). ...
... In the physical aspect, the BRI and the establishment of the AIIB served as the follow-up actions and became crucial policy tools for China's policy on the geopolitics of Asia, including East Asia (Han, 2017;Li, 2020;Ross, 2019;Weissmann, 2020;Yuan, 2018). Contrary to that, the US under the Obama administration experienced worsening relations with its allies; for example, related to the US position on the 2014 Thailand military coup, the US role in the Malaysia 1MDB scandal in 2015, the position of the US towards the Philippines' aggressive anti-drug policy in 2016 (Tan, 2020). ...
... Nevertheless, the US is still considered a dominant player, especially in military and security matters and in its involvement and contribution to international organizations. The study of Tan (2020) supports the findings of this research related to the US geopolitical influence in East Asia: despite Obama's pivot to Asia, it is not until the US under the Trump administration intensified its involvement in various regional initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Initiative, the Asia Maritime Security Initiative, and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act that it regained its influence in the region. Nevertheless, the complexity and instability of the China-US rivalry in the region would be intensified during the intersection of the Trump and Xi administrations in 2018-2020 (Nordin and Weissmann, 2018;Shin, 2018). ...
Recent developments in regional studies argue that geopolitical influence is one factor affecting the regional order. However, studies on geopolitical influence have yet to cover East Asia to explain East Asia's regional order. The quantitative approach to geopolitical influence studies still faces a methodological challenge because it uses an arbitrary weighting of geopolitical influence in developing an index. In order to address those challenges, this research deploys factor analysis as a non-arbitrary weighting system to measure the geopolitical influence of China, Japan, Russia, and the US in East Asia during the period from 2005 to 2018. Additionally, this research explores how the geopolitical influence of those countries affects East Asia's regional cooperation and integration. The research shows that: (1) China has been able to compete with the US for geopolitical influence in East Asia since 2014, and (2) Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and US geopolitical influence positively contributes to regional cooperation and integration in East Asia, with the US and China as the main contributors. The research highlights three possible causes to explain the results: China's regional infrastructure initiatives, rejuvenation of China's view on globalization, and the relative decline of US relations with the allies in the region.
... By no means is it intended to legitimize and revitalize the normative entity of its principles of non-interference and consensus-based decision-making (Natalegawa, 2017(Natalegawa, , 2018. As a result, AOIP has been the reemphasis of ASEAN as a norm-setting and confidencebuilding agency (Tan, 2016(Tan, , 2020. ...
... In tandem, ASEAN neutral diplomatic discourse via AOIP provides such an opportunity for ASEAN member states to become potential trade and investment partners under the China's BRI schemes (Pitakdumrongkit, 2019, p. 54). More broadly, it also reflects ASEAN's persistent commitment to strategies, arguably such as limited alignment and non-alignment, to resist pressure on the regional members amidst the strategic rivalry between Beijing and Washington (Suryadinata, 2018;Tan, 2020). ...
... At first, the FOIP comprised only the United States, Japan, and Australia with looser participation by India. The outer circle of the FOIP was extended in reaction to criticism that other countries were not included apart from the three core members, and the FOIP was thus opened to France (Lechervy, 2019), the UK (Gilli, 2019), and ASEAN (Tan, 2020). Although the United States has remained attached to the original conception, other countries have modified somewhat their original positions. ...
... There have been elements of cooperation including Japan's reversing of its earlier position regarding the BRI with a commitment to cooperate 'in third countries' with China where assurances can be obtained on four dimensions: financial soundness of recipient countries, opening up of the projects, transparency, and economical cost. Meanwhile, ASEAN has proposed a sensible, modified posture of the FOIP ('ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific') by insisting on 'inclusiveness' (not excluding China) and on 'ASEAN centrality' (Tan, 2020). ...
The prioritization of economic development, considered as a key in understanding the co-existence of heightened security situations and growing economic interdependence in Asia, should be considered as a political strategy among many chosen by political elites in their own political context rather than a consensus implying general acquiescence to the idea. The recent competition between the Belt and Road Initiative by China and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific by the United States, Japan, Australia, and India confirms and reinforces the tendency toward the mobilization of development policy for increasingly strategic purposes in the context of rising tension between the United States and China. At the same time, there is some cooperative element in prioritizing development in Asia.
... The new EU Taxonomy, which defines the terms under which economic activities may be considered "sustainable", covers renewable technologies as well as nuclear and natural gas. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which aligned its environmental objectives with the EU Taxonomy also delivered its first version of a joint taxonomy (Tan, 2020). The EU's proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) would place a carbon price on goods imported from outside the EU.23 The rising regulatory and financial pressure to shift investment to clean technologies highlights the considerable risk of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector. ...
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All societies require energy services to meet basic human needs (lighting, cooking, space comfort, mobility, communication) and to serve productive processes (Moise, 2019). For development to be sustainable, delivery of energy services needs to be secure and have low environmental impacts. Sustainable social and economic development requires assured and affordable access to the energy resources necessary to provide essential and sustainable energy services (Restrepo et al., 2021). This may mean the application of different strategies at different stages of economic development (Xu et al., 2021). To be environmentally benign, energy services must be provided with low environmental impacts and low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Le Boulzec et al., 2022). However, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) reported that fossil fuels provided 85%1 of the total primary energy in 2004, which is the same value as in 2018.Renewable energy (RE) sources play a role in sustainably providing energy services and, in particular, in mitigating climate change (Ruffatto et al., 2022). This Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation explores the current contribution and potential of RE sources to provide energy services for a sustainable social and economic development path (Smith et al., 2021). It includes assessments of available RE resources and technologies, costs and co-benefits, barriers to up-scaling and integration requirements, future scenarios, and policy options
... Kuik (2020) suggests that efforts to "avoid taking sides or statements to emphasize 'nonalignment,'" signs of both deference and defiance to a foreign actor, and an evident "inclination to diversify, to preserve policy independence, or to keep options open" are useful criteria to establish hedging. Tan (2020) points to similar indicators suggesting that hedging entails secondary state efforts to navigate great-power rivalry by engaging robustly with both great powers and other secondary states. Haacke (2019), building on Lim and Cooper (2015) and Liff (2016), has attempted to offer greater clarity on how to differentiate hedging from balancing with regard to several criteria, including ambiguous alignment signals, policy statements, and military enhancement measures. ...
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The concept of hedging enjoys increasing use and attention in studies of international relations, particularly with respect to secondary states in the context of great power relations and competition. Increasingly, there is a consensus that hedging is a form of risk management. However, debates about the nature of hedging and its conceptual boundaries remain undecided, which has also limited attempts to theorize hedging. This working paper aims to move beyond existing controversies by clarifying unaddressed and unresolved questions relating to hedging. Specifically, the paper engages in a dialogue with the literatures on alignment, risk, and strategic theory to develop a coherent way of thinking about hedging and to set important theoretical markers for further academic discussion. The paper clarifies the relationship between hedging and external balancing, including underbalancing, by distinguishing the risk-based logic of hedging from the threat-based logic of balancing. It highlights insights regarding the construction of risks and how their management differs from the management of securitized threats. This paper also demonstrates the usefulness of drawing on strategic theory to steer future efforts to theorize hedging. In particular, it shows how strategic theory can help us think more clearly about the ends, ways, and means of hedging, its strategic effects, its relationship to domestic politics, and why hedging strategies may fail. Above all, this paper demonstrates the utility of conceiving of and analyzing hedging as a strategy to address state-based risks to core national security objectives.
... 83 Although the United States and Australia have been advocating an Indo-Pacific strategy for a long time, they shun the spotlight by publicly endorsing 'ASEAN's centrality' in the regional architecture. However, no matter how outside powers flatter ASEAN's relevance in international affairs for various reasons, 84 ASEAN may yet face an embarrassing moment when its three community-building pledges come under scrutiny, because promising too much but delivering too little will be costly and risky for its role status in the long run. ...
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Most research on status in international politics focuses on a state's ‘trait status’, defined by valued attributes that a state possesses, but ignores the importance of ‘role status’, which is constituted through state interactions and competent practices in world politics. By integrating prospect theory and role status scholarship, this article introduces a ‘status-saving’ argument to shed light on how states adopt risk-acceptant strategies to salvage the decline in their role status in world politics. We test the status-saving argument by examining the ASEAN states’ bold community-building efforts in the early 2000s, especially the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2007. We argue that both the economic and political conditions of ASEAN were far from mature enough to pursue such an institutionalization and legalization endeavour. The perceived decline of international role status after the 1998 Asian financial crisis, however, encouraged the ASEAN states to take this ‘great leap forward’ behaviour towards regional integration, which has placed ASEAN's long-term status and internal unity in a more risky and vulnerable position. We conclude that pursuing role status is another way for states, especially rising powers, to seek status in a deference hierarchy. Dominant powers should consider accommodating the pursuit of role status by rising powers and encourage ‘do-goodism’ in world politics.
... On the surface, the Trump Administration's 2019 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report suggested that the adoption of the Indo-Pacific lens signified a return toward hegemonic leadership (Department of Defense, 2019). However, the United States' retreat from the TPP free-trade agreement, low-profile presence at major regional summits during the Trump Administration, trade conflicts, even with allies, and the persistent demands for South Korea and Japan to financially contribute more for stationing U.S. troops there (also under President Biden), point to a United States that is unwilling and unable to play the role of a strong leader in the enlarged, Indo-Pacific domain of governance (Tan, 2020). Against this background, the common understanding of the Indo-Pacific as a strategic space to be managed by a coalition of likeminded democracies, such as represented in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, must be interpreted as an effort at mitigating the effects of the failing hub-and-spoke system (Beeson & Lee-Brown, 2017;Department of State, 2019;Rajagopalan, 2020;Tow, 2019). ...
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Thirty years after the downfall of the Soviet-led communist bloc, the United States-led liberal international order is seen as coming to an end. Policymakers have converged on the need to safeguard the “rules-based order” across the newly coined “Indo-Pacific” region. However, policy and scholarly debates lack clarity about what exactly is to be preserved, and why the terms of the “rules-based order” and the “Indo-Pacific” have rapidly found their way into policy debates despite their contested meaning. Analyzing developments in regional multilateralism, we find that mainstream discourses purport static conceptions of order, which are often conflated with United States-centered trans-Pacific alliance relationships. The ensuing problem of order stems in large part from the fact that multilateral projects for building alternate orders, undertaken since the early 1990s, have remained far below their potential. We conclude that emerging forms of multilateral cooperation across the enlarged “Indo-Pacific” region have partially filled this void.
... Unlike the former Soviet Union, Russia has a comparatively low profile in the Indo-Pacific, despite President Vladimir Putin's strategic objective to improve the relations as part of his "turn to the east" policy, announced in 2010. Moscow is, however, an important provider of weapons, notably for India, China, Vietnam and Malaysia (Storey, 2021). Also welcome is Moscow's experience in energy resource development, while conversely Russia seeks to attract investments for the development of its Far East. ...
... Once formally put forward by the Trump administration, the concept and its derived strategic framework and security connotation of "Indo-Pacific" have attracted the attention and research of China's strategic and academic circles at home and abroad. The foreign scholars tend to believe that the United States launched the strategy of "Indo-Pacific" to relieve the enormous pressure brought by China's Belt and Road Initiative through the expansions towards southwest Pacific and Indian Oceans or to take it as a diplomatic strategy to defend the leading position and economic security and interests of the United States (Tan, 2020;Jung, Lee and Lee, 2021). The interpretations of the "Indo Pacific" strategy by the domestic scholars mostly focus on the political motivation, internal logic, possible consequences and potential impact of the "Indo Pacific" strategy issued by the United States with China's countermeasures and put forward (Qiu, 2019;Ding, 2019;Yang and Liu, 2019). ...
After taking office, the Trump administration has shifted the U.S. strategy in the Asia Pacific region from “Asia Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific”. This paper attempts to start with critical geopolitics, compare the “Asia Pacific” strategy of the United States with the “Indo-Pacific” strategy, and investigate the changes and dynamics of the geopolitical imagination of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. Through the investigation, it can be found that the strategic transformation from “Asia-Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” reflects the transformation of the U.S. strategy towards China from “L-shaped defense” to “half-mouth encirclement”, as well as the Trump government’s attempt to rebuild the U.S. hegemony in various fields through all-round competition, reshape its identity and confidence as a great power by changing its self-identity and consolidating and expanding the alliance of Western style liberal democratic countries by looking for strategic fulcrum to reconstruct the strategic demands of the key geopolitical space. After Biden’s administration took office, it has inherited and strengthened the Trump administration’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which means that the strategic game between the United States and China in the “Indo-Pacific” region and even the global stage will continue for a long time. In order to safeguard China’s national interests and effectively respond to the “Indo-Pacific” strategy, China should enhance its influence and maintain the mentality as a great power, adopt social creation strategies to seek identity and recognition, and make plans based on the “Belt and Road Initiative”, “Polar Silk Road”, “Belt and Road Initiative” and other initiatives; if pushed forward smoothly, it will effectively crack down on the U.S.’s attempt to contain China through the “Indo-Pacific” strategy.
... The term "hedging" was introduced into the international relations (IR) lexicon in the 1990s, when scholars and commentators began using the term to describe state behavior in which a country takes a middle position between the two straightforward strategies of balancing and "bandwagoning," displaying mixed elements of selective engagement, limited resistance, and partial deference (Lake 1996;Green 1999;Johnston and Ross 1999;Medeiros 2005;Goh 2005;Kuik 2008Kuik , 2020. Although hedging has been in use for decades, it remains a highly contentious and widely misunderstood concept in both policy and academic circles (Lim and Cooper 2015;Wang 2018;Ciorciari and Haacke 2019;Shambaugh 2020;Tan 2020;Jones and Jenne 2021). ...
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Hedging is one of the more commonly used but least studied concepts in international relations. This essay conceptualizes hedging and operationalizes it to the alignment choices of Southeast Asian smaller states. I define hedging as insurance-seeking behavior under situations of high uncertainty and high stakes, where a rational state avoids taking sides and pursues opposite measures vis-à-vis competing powers to have a fallback position. I argue that while Washington and Beijing understandably dislike small-state hedging, they both overlook that it is the uncertainties stemming from their actions that push the weak to hedge. As uncertainties deepen, the non-great powers in Southeast Asia—as elsewhere—are compelled to hedge one way or another, even as the space to hedge is shrinking. Hedging is not a panacea and it entails its own problems. But acting out of their survival instincts, smaller states opt to hedge for as long as conditions compel. Unless US–China rivalry escalates into a direct conflict, or unless strategic certainty prevails, e.g., if Washington retreats or reduces its long-term commitment to Asia—raising certainty about the absence of a reliable aligned support—then states will stop hedging and start bandwagoning with China; or if Beijing’s actions directly threaten most actors on all major fronts—heightening certainty about an imminent, across-the-board danger—then hedging will be replaced by balancing against China. Short of that, hedging is likely to persist, making ambiguities a defining theme of our time.
... They are concerned with the possibility of making EAS the default mechanism of this concept. 89 After an extensive process, Indonesia then outlined a draft document titled 'Indonesia's perspective for an ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific: towards a peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive region' . Furthermore, to finalise it, Indonesia held a high-level dialogue on Indo-Pacific cooperation in Jakarta on 20 March 2019. ...
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The purpose of this article is to correlate Indonesia’s global maritime fulcrum (GMF) as Indonesia’s middle power strategy to its responseto the two geopolitical strategies of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China and the Free andOpen Indo-Pacific (FOIP) of the Quad (the United States, India, Japan and Australia). This article used the process-tracing method to examine the information sourced from journal articles, news media outlets, government press releases and other resources. The article unfolds in four sections. The first explains the background of why the global maritime fulcrum was chosen as Indonesia’s middle power strategy response tothe BRI and FOIP. The second explains how Indonesia usesthe GMF as its middle power strategy. The third part explores how the middle power strategy through the GMF policy responds tothe BRI. The last part elaborates on Indonesia’s strategy when responding to the FOIP. It concludes that it is prevalent that Indonesia usesthe GMF as its middle power strategy when responding to the BRI and FOIP.
... Overall, Vietnamese defense leaders' rather muted response to FOIP during the early stage can be understandable since little was known about how the US would operationalise this strategy at that time. Given the uncertainty in the U.S. commitment, like most countries in the region, the strategy Vietnam adopted back then was to "wait and see" (Jung et al., 2021;Tan, 2020). ...
Like many other small and middle powers, Vietnam is facing a strategic dilemma in the face of the U.S.-China rivalry. With the introduction of a vision for Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), the US seeks to strengthen ties with its allies and partners in the region to preserve rules-based international order and to counter China’s rise. Being positioned as the U.S. burgeoning like-minded partner in the regional security architecture, how Vietnam responds to the FOIP strategy, hence, merits consideration. This article argues that Vietnam has responded positively toward the FOIP strategy due to the high compatibility between some key tenets of this strategy and its national interests. However, rather than joining and supporting FOIP in a full-fledged way, Vietnam has chosen to work selectively in some issues with the US. More specifically, while Vietnam proactively embraces the economic dimension in FOIP, it still remains cautious about the security domain. The rationale behind Vietnam’s hesitation to lend full support to this strategy is partially driven by China factor. In this article, China is addressed as a “brake,” which can exert influence on the speed and scope of cooperation that Vietnam is willing to move forward with the US under FOIP strategy.
... Trump aumentó la frecuencia de las "operaciones de libertad de navegación" en sus aguas, sin que tampoco ello sirviera para disuadir a China de sus intenciones de control. El cambio más importante fue quizá que, mientras que el "pivot" de Obama se diseñó con la intención de facilitar a los miembros de la ASEAN su objetivo de involucrar a las grandes potencias en sus instituciones, el "Indo-Pacífi co" de Trump no sólo no reconocía la necesidad de contar con estos Estados -como si su estrategia pudiera ser efi caz con su ausencia-, sino que contribuyó a minar su cohesión y a desarticular su tradicional estrategia de equilibrio 23 . Sólo en los últimos meses del mandato de Trump se produjo un cierto giro, al proponer el secretario de Estado, Mike Pompeo, un QUAD ampliado ("QUAD Plus"), en el que, entre otros nuevos miembros, participaría uno del sureste asiático: Vietnam; una idea, sin embargo, que Hanói siempre re-chazará a menos que perciba una amenaza directa de China 24 . ...
... In its own Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, the US appears more belligerent towards China than Japan. The fact that the US has sought ASEAN's buy-in to its FOIP has been interpreted as putting the organization in the difficult position of giving up its nominally neutral position towards China (Tan, 2020). This highlights that contested multilateralism in connectivity may force ASEAN to align with institutions whose objectives it does not share (He, 2019) to allow for the mobilization of resources. ...
Since 2010, ASEAN has made efforts to increase its coherence and visibility as an actor in regional infrastructure development, under the umbrella term of connectivity. Its most recent strategy, 2016’s Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, is notable for its more focused agenda as well as a tableau of institutional innovations, including new policy coordination mechanisms and a project preparation pipeline. Nonetheless, ASEAN struggles to maintain coherence in the implementation of its connectivity agenda, both internally as well as towards its dialogue partners. Utilizing the concepts of centrality and hedging as parts of a unified theoretical framework, this paper analyzes ASEAN’s efforts to mobilize and manage external resources in connectivity. ASEAN’s resource dependence and its failure to establish institutional centrality creates issues at the regional and the national levels. Regionally, ASEAN’s lack of centrality and its perpetuation of ASEAN+1 relations have contributed to the emergence of contesting agendas and institutional frameworks by external actors. Nationally, the hedging strategies of ASEAN member states are at odds with the regional vision, highlighting a lack of intra-ASEAN coherence. The perpetuation of contesting institutional frameworks by external actors at the national level solidifies existing incoherence in ASEAN’s connectivity governance, further undermining its centrality. ASEAN’s efforts to assert centrality and execute a hedging strategy in connectivity are emblematic of its attempts to extend its reach into new policy areas, but also of its persistent governance constraints.
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This paper examines security policy options for Japan at the present stage that may be worth considering in the short term, the midterm, and the long term, respectively. Hence, the aim of the paper is to examine foreign policy security options for Japan in the foreseeable future. While providing a comprehensive overview of the Japanese foreign and security policy at the present stage, the article employs the case study methodological framework to analyze Japan’s foreign policy objectives in case of Tokyo’s relations with the most critical partners in the Asia-Pacific Region - namely, the United States, China, Russia, ASEAN, and Taiwan. Examining the origin and further development of the QUAD, the authors highlight the absence of ASEAN members and India’s hesitation to institutionalize the grouping, while analyzing the Russia-Japan relations they focus on common interests in security cooperation, as well on its limitations. As a result, in the short term, the expansion of the Japan-US alliance to the Indo-Pacific region is the most plausible option. However, without involving the ASEAN countries, the Free and Open IndoPacific (FOIP) strategy can only add Australia and India to the existing Japan-US alliance. In the midterm, an alliance with Russia may be, with some serious limitations, geographically a natural option. In the long term, Japan might need to find a proper place in a China-centered order in East Asia. Therefore, the authors conclude that the relative decline of US influence in East Asia is unavoidable in the coming decades, Japan must adjust or even reconsider its security policy.
This volume has sought to identify and assess the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the EU and its Asian partners across multiple security-related dimensions. It shows that the levels of EU–Asia cooperation and policy convergence vary across the dimensions examined here. Cooperation is higher in areas like economic security, cyber security, non-proliferation and civil protection, where both regions share common perceptions of risks and threats, or where international norms, collaboration or regulatory arrangements have promoted the adoption of similar policy approaches between the EU and Asia. Cooperation is lower in areas like military security, regional security collaboration and migration, where both regions diverge in terms of threat perception and where international norms, collaboration and regulation are lacking. Ultimately, the future of EU–Asia security cooperation depends not only on ongoing intra-regional developments within both Europe and Asia, but also on outside forces including great power rivalry.
This paper explores hedging in a theoretical thinking and applies it to the foreign policy of India in an era of growing USA–China power rivalry. In this regard, hedging is defined as insurance seeking strategy under situations with high uncertainty, where rational actors (both middle and small states) will try to avoid taking sides and to pursue room for autonomy in decision-making. While Washington and Beijing dislike middle and small countries’ hedging, they both overlook that it is the uncertainties stemming from their own behaviors that push middle and small states to hedge. As uncertainties deepen, most countries in Indo-Pacific region will prefer to use hedging policies to reduce their possible losses. For India, unless USA–China rivalry escalates into a direct military conflict, or unless Washington retreats its commitment to regional security in Indo-Pacific, then India will stop hedging and moving to bandwagoning with China; or if Beijing’s actions directly undermine India’s vital interests in security, then India’s hedging will be replaced by balancing against China. In short, hedging is a passive response, not an active choice; India’s hedging strategy is very likely to persist on making ambiguities in the USA–China–India strategic triangle and entanglement.
The liberal international order (LIO) is now in a complex crisis. Its legitimacy and sustainability are put to the test with the growth of deglobalization forces, the rise of emerging powers dissatisfied with the LIO designed by the US, and climate change and the global pandemic. The crisis of the LIO is particularly salient in the Indo-Pacific, the epicenter of the US-China strategic competition, and secondary states in this region are increasingly concerned about its geopolitical consequences. However, I argue that secondary states often treated as the pawns of great powers can turn this circumstance to their advantage by adopting various strategies that maximize their leverage. We should take seriously the possibility that secondary states, by which I denote all states that are weaker or smaller than the hegemonic state and the rising power, can shape the contours of the US-China strategic competition and the newly emerging international order in the Indo-Pacific region. Preoccupied with great power politics, the existing literature on order transition has neglected the fact that secondary states can develop and exercise their own agency. Moreover, it remains vague what agency means in IR and how secondary states enact it. Against this backdrop, I propose an analytical framework that unpacks various types of agency along three dimensions—the motivation of agency, the type of mobilized resources, and the availability of partners. It will help us explain how weaker and smaller states participate and make their voice in reshaping international order in the Indo-Pacific.
This essay unpacks the hedging behavior of small and secondary states by focusing on Southeast Asian responses to the intense US-China rivalry and the emergence of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) in the Indo-Pacific region. It contends that the weaker states’ perceptions of external realities are not black and white, but shades of grey, as uncertainty breeds ambiguity and ambivalence. The states often do not view a major power (and its initiatives) as either a clear-cut threat or a straightforward solution. Instead, they perceive a spectrum of risks and challenges, each with constantly changing manifestations and magnitude, all of which require complex combinations of mutually-reinforcing and counteracting measures. All ASEAN states have mixed attitudes towards the competing powers, viewing both the Quad’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategies and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as bringing not only opportunities but also risks and dangers. These ambivalent perceptions entail a process of ‘riskification’, where states identify and prioritize certain risks while downplaying others, in ways that serve elite interests at home. Hence, while nearly all the ASEAN states have stressed in varying degrees the risks of entrapment, abandonment, polarization and marginalization, many have downplayed the dangers of big-power aggressiveness and interference, some more so than others. The varying riskification patterns thus lead to varying hedging acts, prompting subtly different responses to the emerging realities.
The “China question” in Southeast Asia is constituted by uncertainties accompanying China’s rise. Three types of uncertainties are especially worrisome for ASEAN states: uncertainties about China’s future intentions, uncertainties about side effects of China linkages, and uncertainties about US–China strategic competition. While disagreement over the “China question” exists both within and among ASEAN states, their responses to it could be lumped under the category of “hedging”, a posture distinct from either balancing or bandwagoning. An uncertainty management tool, hedging combines ASEAN states’ contestation against and adaptation to uncertainties, without signalling rigid alignment. Hedging is adaptive in nature, responsive to changes in domestic needs, the shifting international environment, and unforeseen circumstances. More than a passive reaction, hedging has the potential of being a transformative force. There is hope that hedging could help ASEAN states improve their situation and nurture favourable habits in the great powers. Yet there is also the danger that hedging would trigger self-dampening mechanisms, spawn even more uncertainties, and hurt ASEAN’s internal cohesion. In future research, variations in the implicit time horizon of hedging, in the parameters of hedging, and in the domestic foundations of hedging merit further exploration.
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Since independence, Myanmar has prioritised a non-aligned foreign policy to preserve autonomy in the international arena. Yet, it has done so in contrasting and sometimes opposite ways. Historically, Myanmar's great power diplomacy has resembled a pendulum swinging between two ideal types: ‘positive non-alignment’ and ‘negative neutralism’. The former represents a proactive blend of non-aligned behaviour that seeks to assert independence by achieving a diversified range of international partnerships, whereas the latter endeavours to accomplish the same goal through diplomatic disengagement and self-aloofness. This article analyses Myanmar's shifting recourse to opposite archetypes of alignment by examining its foreign policy between 2011 and 2021. Building upon a comprehensive theoretical classification of different forms of non-alignment, the analysis contends that Myanmar's evolving great power diplomacy is ultimately rooted in oscillating degrees of political legitimation held by its leaders, which pushed them to alternatively tilt towards positive non-alignment or negative neutralism.
This article revisits the conceptualisation of (regional) order in International Relations (IR) theory to illuminate key aspects of Japan’s order-building role in the Indo-Pacific. The framework is based upon a multi-dimensional understanding of regional order-building allowing for an examination of Japan’s vision for a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) policy ‘vision’, the challenges it faces as a secondary power, and its conduct as an emerging entrepreneurial power in the Indo-Pacific. The article’s central argument is that Japan’s order-building should be understood in the context of the country’s deeper strategic situation and, in particular, its position as a secondary, but still highly influential, power. This has implications for understanding Japan’s approach to international order and how it might deploy norm entrepreneurship in shaping the new Indo-Pacific order.
Recent developments in the Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific region have illustrated the emergence of a contested region and unfolding regional order. Within the multiplicity, as argued in the introduction of the special issue, all stakeholders, including the weak state actors, not necessarily the superior ones, are participating in the process of order-building. This article looks at how Indonesia, the largest member country of ASEAN, pursues its agency amid the contested regional formulations between China and the US. The argument is that Indonesia promotes its concept of a rules-based interaction beyond the dominant great power politics, as a potential agency enabling the creation of a pluralised regional order. This agential position provides the basis to rethink the relevance of the established conceptual framework of hedging commonly used to understand small and middle powers’ foreign policies toward the major players. The author sees that Indonesia hedges in different ways, demonstrating a distinct conceptualisation which is likely to make a contribution to the project of Global IR.
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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) pursuit for a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) first began during the Cold War, at a time of intense superpower rivalry in Southeast Asia. ASEAN reaffirmed the importance of this principle in 2020, amid growing concerns of instability in the Asia-Pacific region as a result of increasing tensions between the United States (US) and China. Through an examination of the ZOPFAN principle, this paper seeks to develop a greater understanding of ASEAN’s ability to respond to periods of geopolitical crisis and Great Power rivalry. It asks whether a ZOPFAN in Southeast Asia has ever been successfully realised, and what is the likelihood of one being achieved in the future. As analysis of recent security challenges will show, ZOPFAN falls short as both a framework for regional security and as an expression of regional autonomy. This raises serious questions about ASEAN’s coherence in the post-Cold War era, and its ability to uphold regional order in light of renewed Great Power security competition.
This article examines how South Korea has used the ASEAN Plus security platforms to hedge between the US and China and why it has not participated in the FOIP strategy. It argues that the platforms’ neutral guise, owing to ASEAN centrality and their global norms-based agenda has allowed Korea to passively voice its alignment with the US, thereby answering to the pressure for a higher commitment from the US and clearing the political risk of linking the alignment decision to its own views. It asserts, therefore, that access to effective multilateral security platforms allows higher leverage to the weaker ally in an asymmetric alliance relationship.
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This chapter aims to provide a fresh interpretation of Japan's patterned approach to the ASEAN over the past forty years, examining it in the context of Japan's interest in leading wider concepts of regional institutions in Asia and the Pacific. It analyzes Japan's policy direction and diplomatic efforts to maintain good relations with the ASEAN as a key precondition for its commitment to establishing six different regional initiatives or institutions beyond Southeast Asia, representing a view that Japan has promoted its ASEAN policy in parallel with its commitment to wider regional institutions. Based on the analytical presumptions promoted by neoclassical real ism, this chapter pursues Japanese policy responses to the international/regional structural changes through examining, especially, Japanese prime ministers' perceptions, ideas, and roles to identify Japan's distinctive moves on ASEAN and wider regional institutions: the end of the Vietnam War for ASEAN, the Plaza Accord and regional economic interdependence for APEC, the AFC for APT, China's charm offensive diplomacy for EAS, China's hegemonic rise for TPP, and Japan-China competition over economic rules for FOIP. Japan has acknowledged the solidarity and integration of ASEAN as a prerequisite for the effective development of these wider regional institutions, making it a significant task for Japan to ease ASEAN's concern about its possible marginalization within Asia a politics and economics.
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This article explores the consequences major power rivalries over connectivity investments have for small states in Asia and thereby contributes to a better understanding of small states’ strength and capabilities in an increasingly multipolar world. With reference to the literature on small states, field work, and interviews, the article explores Bangladesh’s remarkable success in reaping the benefits from relations with rivalling major powers over the past decade. Three explanatory factors stand out: first, Bangladesh’s ‘intrinsic’ value to major powers increased; second, its political leadership has been particularly adept in dealing with such major powers; and third, systemic factors – the number and kind of major powers with stakes in Bangladesh – has been beneficial. Thus, Bangladesh’s foreign policy responses suggest that the competitive nature of connectivity investments substantially improves the autonomy of recipient countries. Moreover, contrary to theoretical expectations, the intensification of major power rivalry so far has not constrained Bangladesh’s autonomy. Thus, the case study also exhibits infrastructure investments’ limitations as a power resource. Nonetheless, the potentially most beneficial cooperation schemes involving rivalling major powers have become less likely. Consequently, the case study dampens incipient hopes in turning competing connectivity schemes into major power positive-sum games.
The aim of this chapter is to tackle Trump’s grand strategy. It is argued that although Trump was elected on an anti-globalist agenda, he did not ‘drain the swamp’ as he promised, nor he substantially undermined the pillars of post-WWII US grand strategy. Furthermore, the long-term objectives of his foreign policy were in continuity with those of Obama. Yet, the way Trump executed US grand strategy showed a great deal of tactical discontinuity compared to his predecessor. Based on his America First agenda, Trump pursued with equal energy to Obama a policy of off-shore balancing. He continued to maintain a posture of disengagement in the Middle East and Europe—with some contradictions—while choosing the Asia-Pacific and China as a priority. Yet, informed by his nationalist and conservative worldview, he did so by partnering up with Saudi Arabia, insulting European allies, and starting a trade war with Beijing.
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This essay traces the structural sources of Malaysia's South China Sea policy. It argues that Malaysia's ‘light-hedging’ approach is primarily a smaller-state's response to growing systemic pressure arising from power asymmetry, rivalry, and uncertainties. The features of this approach are: an insistence on not taking sides, concurrent adoption of open deference and indirect defiance, and an active effort to cultivate a fallback position, all aimed at reducing multiple risks associated with the uncertainties of US commitment , China's long-term intentions, and their future relations. We have arrived at three main findings. First, structural impact matters: as geopolitical uncertainty increases, weaker states hedge more deeply. Second, smaller states do have agency, even if only in a low-profile manner. Because smaller states have been disadvantaged under an asymmetric power structure, they often use a combination of diplomatic, legal, developmental, and defence means to shape favourable external conditions. Third, while hedging is chiefly a result of structural factors, the forms and degree of a state's hedging activism are necessarily a function of its threat perceptions, elite interests and other unit-level variables. These factors explain Malaysia's light form of hedging: quiet action and limited defiance alongside open accommodation in managing the South China Sea disputes.
In recent years, many observers perceive ascendant Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. Existing research attributes China’s recent advances in the region to Beijing’s successful implementation of a dual strategy of coercion and inducement or Washington’s lack of commitments to the region. In a departure from the literature, this article emphasizes the agency of Southeast Asian states. It argues that great power competition empowers the secondary states by reducing their vulnerability, increasing available resources, and lending credibility to their threat of exists. As a result, domestic agenda plays a predominant role in determining a secondary state’s foreign policy orientation. To illustrate this proposition, the changing dynamics of China’s relations with Myanmar and the Philippines are examined closely. This article demonstrates that although the two states had realigned away from China since 2010–11, new agendas that emerged from their domestic politics in late 2016 tipped the balance in favor of China.
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To mitigate the risks and maximise the opportunities arising from China's great power behaviour, Malaysia employed a hedging strategy during Mahathir Mohamad's second term as prime minister. From 2018 until 2020, the middle power Malaysia applied direct engagement and elements of limited balancing and limited bandwagoning in a flexible yet consistent manner. Neither China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) nor its actions in the South China Sea caused a sea change in Malaysia's hedging strategy. Crucially, the policies towards China were embedded in omnidirectional, friendly, and well-balanced relations with the United States, Japan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Theoretically, this contribution applies an updated concept of hedging, initially introduced by Cheng-Chwee Kuik. As an important innovation, it adds a specific component to assess the perceptions of the political leader(s) of risks and opportunities related to the hedging target as well as the strategic value of potential balancing partners.
Besides being promoting globalization with Chinese characteristics, with the Belt and Road Initiative as an epitome, Xi Jinping’s contemporary China has tried to dominate its regional insertion area and namely Southeast Asia, which is economically and politically organized in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Both China and ASEAN have convergent economic and strategic interests in the South China Sea, whose wealth in energetic resources and fisheries is at the origin of a sovereignty dispute. In addition to this, around one-third of world trade passes through this sea. In this confluence of sea-lanes, naval powers are being measured and it is a scenario for the competitive coexistence China- United States of America, whose influence in Southeast Asia dates from Cold War, where the United States navy capabilities are being tested. In these circumstances – which can be described as a new Great Game –, not only ASEAN does not solve its problems in the South China Sea but also will be positioned in between Chinese and North- American pressures.
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The interests of India and the United States (US) converge on multiple aspects in the Indo-Pacific. These interests range from economics to geopolitics to regional stability. India’s Look East Policy, rechristened as Act East Policy, in addition to economic, cultural and commercial goals, includes strategic interests to expand India’s influence in East Asia and to the larger Indo-Pacific. The US, challenged by the rise of China, has initiated a quadrilateral grouping of democracies (QUAD) and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy with the objective of reasserting American primacy in the Indo-Pacific. The US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region signed in 2015 and the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report 2019 emphasize the indispensability of the part- nership between the US and India in the Indo-Pacific. The policies of the US and India towards the Indo-Pacific converge on ensuring peace, stability, maritime security, freedom of navigation, the fight against terrorism, peaceful settlement of disputes and ensuring con- nectivity of land, sea, and air transportation. Though not stated bluntly, containing the growing Chinese influence by mobilizing countries in the region figures prominently in the strategic schemes of both India and the US. As the most important strategic region in world politics, India, the US and China have vital economic and security interests at stake. By relying on a realist approach, the paper probes the main drivers and constraints of the Indo-US strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific. The paper outlines and analyses the con- text of the Indo-US collaboration in the Indo-Pacific, their shared views and concerns, its anti-China mode and the constraints of the partnership.
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This article analyzes Malaysia's alignment behavior visa -vis America and China, with a focus on explaining how the weaker state's insistence on hedging has both motivated and limited its defense links with the competing powers. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that regional states choose to align militarily with the rebalancing America to hedge against China, the article argues that this characterization is only partially true; a more accurate account is that weaker states do not hedge against any single actor per se; rather, they seek to hedge against a range of risks associated with uncertain power relations. In the case of Malaysia, while Putrajaya aims to mitigate the challenges of an assertive Beijing, its alignment behavior is more a function of a desire to offset several systemic and domestic risks, namely, the shadow of entrapment, abandonment, and alienation, alongside the fear of authority erosion at home.
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This article examines Australian grand strategy in the context of China's rise during the period of Labor governments between 2007 and 2013. Australia's grand-strategic posture is treated as the dependent variable, plotted along a balancing-to-bandwagoning continuum. Australia remained within the hedging zone throughout, although there were discernible shifts in posture during the period. While momentum was building towards a more overt balancing posture during the Kevin Rudd era, the various balancing and bandwagoning ‘signals’ were more contradictory after Julia Gillard unseated Rudd 2010; in short, she stabilised Australia's grand-strategic posture, meaning it remains best characterized as ‘dominance denial’.
Why has South Korea accommodated China, instead of fearing its growth and balancing against it? This article makes two central arguments. First, concepts of balancing and bandwagoning are fundamentally difficult to test, and to the extent that the theory can be tested, it appears to be wrong in the case of South Korea. In fact, we observe many cases in which rising powers are neither balanced nor "bandwagoned" but are simply accommodated with no fundamental change either way in military stance or alignment posture. Second, the factors that explain South Korean foreign policy orientation toward China are as much about interests as they are about material power. South Korea sees substantially more economic opportunity than military threat associated with China's rise; but even more importantly, South Korea evaluates China's goals as not directly threatening.
It is widely claimed that secondary states across East Asia are not purely balancing or bandwagoning, but rather hedging between the United States and China by combining policies of economic and political engagement with risk management. We argue that hedging behavior should not include costless activities that do not require states to face trade-offs in their security choices. We redefine hedging as signaling that generates ambiguity over the extent of a secondary state’s shared security interests with great powers. This definition returns the focus to security relationships and better accounts for the trade-offbetween autonomy and alignment. Based on this definition, we argue that hedging occurs in far narrower (but arguably more interesting) circumstances than is widely believed. Many Asian states have existing treaty alliances with the United States or major territorial conflicts with China, creating path dependencies that reinforce balancing behavior rather than hedging. We therefore clarify cross-national variation in state behavior and contribute to the larger research project on regional responses to China’s rise.
Because Washington and Beijing are both hedging their security bets about the other at precisely the time that the East Asian regional order is being redefined, reciprocal hedging today could precipitate a shift toward rivalry and regional instability unless it is carefully managed.
Straight from the US State Department: the "pivot" to Asia is over', The Diplomat
  • Ankit Panda
Ankit Panda, 'Straight from the US State Department: the "pivot" to Asia is over', The Diplomat, 14 March 2017,
See also William T. Tow, 'Sea change or more of the same? Trump's security policies in Asia
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Sheldon Simon, 'Abandoning leadership', Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations 19: 3, 2018, pp. 41-52. See also William T. Tow, 'Sea change or more of the same? Trump's security policies in Asia', Asia Policy 13: 4, 2018, pp. 10-16.
What Malaysia's "Mahathir doctrine" means for China-US rivalry', South China Morning Post
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Cheng-Chwee Kuik and Chin Tong Liew, 'What Malaysia's "Mahathir doctrine" means for China-US rivalry', South China Morning Post, 20 Aug. 2018, what-malaysias-mahathir-doctrine-means-china-us-rivalry.
Malaysia's Mahathir positive about Belt and Road initiative', gbtimes
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Weida Li, 'Malaysia's Mahathir positive about Belt and Road initiative', gbtimes, 20 Aug. 2018, malaysias-mahathir-positive-about-belt-and-road-initiative.
US-China rivalry in south-east Asia
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Shambaugh, 'US-China rivalry in south-east Asia', p. 99.
Singapore not joining US, Japan-led free and open Indo-Pacific for now: Vivian Balakrishnan', Straits Times
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Clarissa Yong, 'Singapore not joining US, Japan-led free and open Indo-Pacific for now: Vivian Balakrishnan', Straits Times, 14 May 2018,
Speech by minister for foreign affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan during the committee of supply debate
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Vivian Balakrishnan, 'Speech by minister for foreign affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan during the committee of supply debate, 1 March 2018', Russia-Singapore Business Council,
What does a "free and open Indo-Pacific" actually mean
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Cited in Valencia, 'What does a "free and open Indo-Pacific" actually mean?'.
Indo-Pacific versus Asia-Pacific as Mackinder faces Mahan', The Strategist
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Graeme Dobell, 'Indo-Pacific versus Asia-Pacific as Mackinder faces Mahan', The Strategist, 5 June 2018,
ASEAN's role in the US Indo-Pacific strategy
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Kavi Chongkittavorn, 'ASEAN's role in the US Indo-Pacific strategy', Asia Pacific Bulletin, no. 425, 27 June 2018,
South-east Asia feared next on list for US trade sanctions
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See Hiroshi Kotani, 'South-east Asia feared next on list for US trade sanctions', Nikkei Asian Review, 9 April 2018,;
US unlikely to target Singapore yet for punitive trade action
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Nirmal Ghosh, 'US unlikely to target Singapore yet for punitive trade action', Straits Times, 1 March 2017,
Vietnam tops list of biggest winners from US-China trade war
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Michelle Jamrisko, 'Vietnam tops list of biggest winners from US-China trade war', Bloomberg, 3 June 2019,
Vietnam is most vulnerable in South-east Asia to trade war
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FT Confidential Research, 'Vietnam is most vulnerable in South-east Asia to trade war', Nikkei Asian Review, 13
Trump signs Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law
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Ankit Panda, 'Trump signs Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law', The Diplomat, 3 Jan. 2019,
What ARIA will and won't do for the US in Asia
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Ankit Panda, 'What ARIA will and won't do for the US in Asia', The Diplomat, 14 Jan. 2019,
Behind China's $1 trillion plan to shake up the economic order
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Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang, 'Behind China's $1 trillion plan to shake up the economic order', New York Times, 13 May 2017,
Trump has a fairly astounding track record in self-contradiction. See Michael Kruse and Noah Weiland, 'Donald Trump's greatest self-contradictions
Indeed, for a person who prides himself as one who 'tells it like it is', Trump has a fairly astounding track record in self-contradiction. See Michael Kruse and Noah Weiland, 'Donald Trump's greatest self-contradictions', Politico, 5 May 2016, On Trump's demand that US allies undertake increased burden-sharing, see Doug Bandow, 'Trump and US alliances: from burden-sharing to burden-shedding', Foreign Affairs, 25 Jan. 2017, https://www.foreignaffairs. com/articles/united-states/2017-01-25/trump-and-us-alliances.
The misplaced burden-sharing fight
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Japan's Indo-Pacific strategy aligns well with Singapore
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Seow Bei Yi, 'Japan's Indo-Pacific strategy aligns well with Singapore, ASEAN priorities: PM Lee', Straits Times, 15 Nov. 2018,
Trump's Indo-Pacific strategy challenge in the spotlight
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Parameswaran, 'Trump's Indo-Pacific strategy challenge in the spotlight'.
ASEAN-China maritime exercise helps boost regional stability: Dr Ng
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Koh Eng Beng, 'ASEAN-China maritime exercise helps boost regional stability: Dr Ng', Pioneer, 23 Oct. 2018, news.
ASEAN and US to conduct joint maritime exercise in 2019
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The ADMM and ADMM-Plus: regional security mechanisms that work?
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See Seng Tan, 'The ADMM and ADMM-Plus: regional security mechanisms that work?', in Tim Huxley and William Choong, eds, Asia-Pacific regional security assessment 2018 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies), pp. 165-75.
Singapore paving the way for greater regional security
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See Seng Tan, 'Singapore paving the way for greater regional security', Straits Times, 23 Feb. 2018, p. A21.
What's next for China-Thailand defence ties?', The Diplomat
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See Prashanth Parameswaran, 'What's next for China-Thailand defence ties?', The Diplomat, 18 June 2018,;
The Philippines' "pivot" to China: a review of perspectives
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The effectiveness of minor powers' hedging strategy: comparing Singapore and the Philippines
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Ryan Yu-Lin Liou and Philip Szue-Chin Hsu, 'The effectiveness of minor powers' hedging strategy: comparing Singapore and the Philippines', unpublished paper, 2017, p. 3.
US wants "rebalancing" in trade ties with ASEAN, says top Trump trade official
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Nirmal Ghosh, 'US wants "rebalancing" in trade ties with ASEAN, says top Trump trade official', Straits Times, 28 April 2018,
The limits of Trump's transactional foreign policy', The National Interest
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Leon Hader, 'The limits of Trump's transactional foreign policy', The National Interest, 2 Jan. 2017,
Democracy and human rights shouldn't take a backseat in US Southeast Asia policy', The Diplomat
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  • Hunter Marston
Michael Larkin and Hunter Marston, 'Democracy and human rights shouldn't take a backseat in US Southeast Asia policy', The Diplomat, 10 Jan. 2017,
Trump's Indo-Pacific strategy challenge in the spotlight at 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue', The Diplomat
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Prashant Parameswaran, 'Trump's Indo-Pacific strategy challenge in the spotlight at 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue', The Diplomat, 5 June 2018,