Discover more from My latest work and analysis on China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
New CAG Report: Deterring Conflict and Preserving Peace in Asia
Exploring the intersections of Northeast and Southeast Asian security interests
I am pleased to share with you the latest report published by the Centre for Asia and Globalisation, “Deterring Conflict and Preserving Peace in Asia.”
This project seeks to explore the intersection of Northeast and Southeast Asian security, which is understudied and infrequently discussed.
This project was intended to bring together experts from Northeast and Southeast Asia as well as the US, India and Australia to exchange views on common and divergent interests in maintaining peace and stability in the region. We invited 15 experts to join a workshop and submit essays to consider how countries around the region might respond to a crisis in the Taiwan Strait or East China Sea, particularly whether or under what conditions they might contribute to efforts to deter aggression or the use of force.
Participants were asked to consider how the risk of conflict in the East China Sea or over Taiwan affects security calculations throughout the region, and whether there are conditions in which countries in Southeast Asia might take tangible, proactive steps to avert a conflict. At the outset of the project, it was apparent that many Southeast Asian foreign policy experts had very little exposure to Northeast Asian security issues, particularly Taiwan and cross-Strait relations. Several contributors commented to the editors that they had never analysed cross-Strait security dynamics before, or visited Taiwan previously, despite their deep experience as academics or practitioners in Southeast Asia. I hope this project helped broaden conceptions of regional security interests, as well as develop interpersonal relationships that will further academic exchange and sustain discourse on this vital topic.
• Southeast Asian states seek to avoid becoming entangled in US-China competition, frequently articulated as, “not choosing sides.”
• Southeast Asian states are meticulous at avoiding antagonising China even when their own interests are affected, underscoring the effectiveness of China’s use of economic and political coercion to deter Southeast Asian states.
• Southeast Asian elites are fully cognizant of the consequences of a conflict in the East China Sea or across the Taiwan Strait, but they are reluctant to take active measures to prevent conflict, and are unlikely to respond forcefully if conflict erupts.
• Northeast Asian states do not look to Southeast Asian states for security benefits, but do seek to build their capacity and maintain access for reasons beyond conflict prevention.
• US policy-makers lack appreciation for the depth of Southeast Asian preferences for nonalignment, high tolerance for inaction, and disinterest in having agency or taking overt measures to prevent a conflict around Taiwan and the East China Sea.
• Japan’s and Australia’s perception of the threat that China presents to regional stability and their own political, economic, and security interests have shifted considerably in the last five years, resulting in a more proactive approach to deterrence, including strengthening alliances and access in Northeast Asia, and the acquisition of advanced military power-projection capabilities.
I hope you find this report enlightening. I am always open to dialogue and exchanging views on these topics, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to speak. You can also follow me on Twitter at @tanganzhu
If you do not know how you got on this mailing list, we crossed paths at some point either in person, or online, or we are connected on LinkedIn. If you do not want to receive this periodic mailing anymore, please click the unsubscribe link below. No hard feelings.
Thanks for reading My latest work and analysis on China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.