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Japan – ASEAN Study

Japan's Role for Southeast Asia Amidst the Great Power Competition and its Implications for the EU-Japan Partnership

Southeast Asia in focus: In no other region is the economic, the political and military rise of China so striking and so powerful; in no other region does Beijing question the rules-based international order (especially in the South China Sea) so aggressively. Adaptation strategies to the rise of Beijing and the growing conflict with the former Pacific superpower differ from country to country. Amid a (fear and/or perceived) declining US engagement in the region, Southeast Asia invariably needs to seek alternatives.

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What alternatives can the rules-based international order offer Southeast Asia and who can serve as a counter hedge vis-à-vis China in the region? And in an era of great power competition, what actions should Southeast Asian countries take to avoid crisis? By examining Japan’s role in Southeast Asia in this research, we have ascertained implications on the queries. Our report also has implication for the EU, which aims to strengthen its relationship with ASEAN according to its Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Our research group - comprising leading experts from Japan and five ASEAN countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – conducted case studies focusing on Japan’s role for Southeast Asia and the region’s changing strategic and economic dynamics due to US-China contestation. Our report includes the analysis of Japan-ASEAN relations from Japan’s perspective, which summarizes the Japan-ASEAN relationship and analyses the options Japan can offer to ASEAN under the US-China bipolar world. The report concludes with policy implications for European and German policy makers and experts.

This study is a joint project between the KAS office in Hanoi/Vietnam and Koki Shigenoi, Research Associate at the Asia-Pacific Department at KAS headquarters in Berlin/Germany.

The publication is now available in English.

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Pham Thi To Hang

Pham Hang

Project Manager +84 24 37 18 61 94 /95 /96 +84 24 37 18 61 97


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