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ASEAN’s Positioning in a multipolar Indo-Pacific / Joefe B. SANTARITA

Asia’s Post-Pandemic Order and Integration: Outlook of ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific at Crossroads

ASEAN’s Positioning in a multipolar Indo-Pacific
Joefe B. SANTARITA, Asian Center, University of the Philippines

In Indo-Pacific and regional context, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) finds itself in a strategic vantage point relative to the United States, China, and other middle powers due to its nonthreatening posture and its capacity to perambulate through the “hierarchical” nature of global affairs. As a follow up to the Singapore based think tank’s commentary, this paper discusses ASEAN’s positioning to include the role as pivotal actor in creating an environment for economic development and people-centered prosperity in the region without undermining the participation of other states. Beyond the maneuverings and foreign policy dynamics of great powers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASEAN can also maximize its well-established network to explore new areas for cooperation beyond the pandemic in 2021, to sustain and elevate the existing rules-based international and regional order.


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Session 3 / The Indo-Pacific from Southeast Asian Perspectives : Centrality and Multilateralism in Uncertain Times
Chair : Dr Stéphane DOVERT, Founder of IRASEC

The Indo-Pacific considered as a maritime “super-region” acknowledge the fact that the Indian Ocean has replaced the Atlantic as the globe’s busiest and most strategically significant trade corridor, whose geographical center in Southeast Asia. The “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” in 2019 asserted the “ASEAN Centrality” and its willingness to weigh as a significant player in the Indo-Pacific changing landscape, at the heart of new regional dynamics. These last years, ASEAN has defended an alternative position of “dialogue and cooperation, and not rivalry with China” in the context of Trump’s trade disputes and conflicts between US and China. This session questions the Southeast Asia countries and ASEAN multilateral strategy, in the recent changing context with the new Biden administration’s commitment in the Indo-Pacific. And to what extent will ASEAN countries and institutions be able to defend a stable multipolar world order in the Indo-Pacific region without isolating China, and avoid, as during the Cold War, being the center theatre of conflicts ?

“Asia’s Post-Pandemic Order and Integration : Outlook of ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific at Crossroads” is an international conference organized by The Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC-CNRS) with the ASEAN Studies Center (Chulalongkorn University) in Bangkok, and the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC), RIS in New Delhi.
8-9 July 2021 - Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok