This episode examines recent developments in Southeast Asian attitudes toward competing great powers in the region, especially China and the US, and what it might mean for the future of ASEAN’s ties with these actors. Our guest, Dr. Tang Siew Mun, explains the factors behind the results of his organization’s recent survey titled “State of Southeast Asia: 2019.” He discusses the respondents’ views on the reemergence of Chinese influence in the region, potential roles for powers such as Japan and the EU, and uncertainty about US commitment to and staying power in the region. Dr. Tang also explores the role of projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, and how perspectives toward the regional players may change moving forward.
Dr. Tang Siew Mun is the Head of the ASEAN Studies Centre and a Senior Fellow at the Regional Strategic and Political Studies program at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. He was previously Director for Foreign Policy and Security Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia and Senior Lecturer at the National University of Malaysia. His primary research interests are Asian security, ASEAN’s relations with major powers, and Japanese foreign policy.