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Strengthening Pluralism in the Indo-Pacific and the Role of the ASEAN / LAU Sim Yee

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

Strengthening Pluralism in the Indo-Pacific and the Role of the ASEAN
LAU Sim Yee, Faculty of International Studies, Reitaku University (Tokyo)

Indo-Pacific has become a place where 24 allies are dividing themselves with their alleged challenger, China. Containment strategy executed by the US and its allies, humanitarian interventions in failed states, freedom and prosperity expounded by liberal democracy and capitalism, and the Biden’s assertion of the rivalry between US and China as"a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies" are conventional wisdoms that add fuel to the fire. Concerted efforts, at least to extinguish the flame, are crucial for peace, stability, and prosperity in and beyond the region. The diversity of Southeast Asia region is based on the linkages with Indian and Chinese civilizations, Islam, and Christianity. With this distinct pool of diversity, the ASEAN is a trustworthy group to serve as the main navigator for guiding the sail to the post-Covid peaceful coexistence in Indo-Pacific. The ASEAN is required to initiate a process of conversations with member states of Indo-Pacific group, but also with the alleged challenger, China. A constructive dialogue means the establishment of a pragmatic and mutually acceptable architecture of peaceful coexistence in Indo-Pacific.


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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
Chair : Prof. Suthiphand CHIRATHIVAT, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok)
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