Séminaire annuel de l’Observatoire Asie du Sud-Est: Australia, South Korea, India and Japan in Southeast Asia: Secondary roles… but not only

17 novembre 2017, Ecole Militaire, Paris – En partenariat avec l’IRSEM

At the crossroads of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, a game is at play, with the United States and China moving their pawns around the table, alternating high and low positions in line with the current trends in their domestic politics, Congresses or elections. In this context, the ASEAN countries are cautious, and have in principle opted to hedge their bets, placing themselves on a continuum stretching from bandwagoning to balancing. Could this actually be short-term pragmatism, without any “Grand strategy” other than taking chosen immediate domestic interests such as elections, growth and corruption as sole determinates? Hence, leaders simply react to signals sent by Beijing and Washington, focusing on their personal interests – be them supporting or national.

Weary of both Chinese investments promises and American political delays, Southeast Asian countries could let themselves be tempted by a third way: a form of deus ex-machina from Northeast or South Asia, constructed from historical and/or economic arguments. Indeed, Australia, South Korea, as well as India and Japan through their respective “Act East Policy” and “Abenomics”, are positioning themselves in this new ‘Great game’. Each country has its arguments, such as an “Indo-Pacific” ensemble, which echoes the “Asian security super-complex” identified by Barry Buzan. In the context of a “swell diplomacy” depending on the current winds from Chinese or American domestic political landscape, whereby a Chinese centre of gravity counterbalances a pro-American hull, these Southeast Asian countries could reinforce their stability by adding a peripheral and perhaps more reliable float.

  • Welcoming Speech

Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer (IRSEM), Jean-François Di Meglio (Asia Centre) et Florence Biot (Asia Centre)

  • Introduction: From Southeast Asia to Indopacific?

Dr Eric Frécon (Asia Centre / Ecole Navale)

  • Roundtable: Doubts and uncertainty over Chinese and American implications in Southeast Asia (and in the South Asia Sea)

Chaired by Dr S. Boisseau du Rocher (IFRI); With: Dr Sam Bateman (ANCORS/UOW-RSIS), Dr Lee Jaehyon (ASAN Institute), Dr J. Nilsson-Wright (Chatham House), Dr Jean-Luc Racine (CNRS, Asia Centre)

  • Panel: Peripheral and second-range powers in wait at the heart of Southeast Asia

Chaired by Prof. Marie-Sybille de Vienne (INALCO); Panelists: Australia – Dr Sam Bateman (ANCORS/UOW-RSIS), South Korea – Dr Lee Jaehyon (ASAN Institute), India – Dr Jean-Luc Racine (CNRS / Asia Centre); Japan – Dr John Nilsson-Wright (Chatham House)

  • Conclusion: France in the trail?
  • Cocktail

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