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Southeast Asia between China and the United States

Majid, Munir (2012) Southeast Asia between China and the United States. IDEAS reports - special reports, Kitchen, Nicholas (ed.) (SR015). LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The new geopolitics of Southeast Asia is dominated by the emerging regional rivalry between China and the United States. The contest has been highlighted by incidents in the South China Sea where the US has made clear its interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and in the peaceful settlement of China’s disputes with smaller regional states. Some in the Pentagon project an ‘AirSea Battle’ in the region similar to the ‘AirLand Battle’ planned during the Cold War – a scenario given credence by US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta’s announcement at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2012 of an American naval force ‘rebalancing’ in the Pacific from the current 50 percent to 60 percent by 2020. More widely, historian Arne Westad describes Southeast Asia as ‘The decisive territory, on the future of which hangs the outcome of a great contest for influence in Asia.’1 Indeed, the rivalry extends well beyond maritime issues, and Southeast Asian states have been drawn into this contest, whether or not they have disputes with China in the South China Sea. What led to this strategic turn, how the maritime disputes might develop, and the diplomacy required to negotiate the tensions and determine the future of regional institutions, are matters of some complexity. Close proximity to events and issues can lead to premature conclusions. There has, therefore, to be a certain level of circumspection in any commentary on the new geopolitics of the region. Nevertheless, any analysis of this situation must project future trends and outcomes, even as contemporary events are weighed against their long-term strategic significance.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2012 10:31
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:20

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