One of the most pressing foreign policy challenges that the ten countries of Southeast Asia (ASEAN-10) faces today and in the coming years is how to position themselves between the US and China as the geopolitical rivalry between the two superpowers intensifies. Most in Southeast Asia claim they would prefer not to have to choose between the two superpowers, but that position will become increasingly difficult to maintain as the US and China pressure states in the region to align with them. The seminar will address three key questions related to this strategic dilemma: What do the strategic alignments of the ASEAN-10 look like today? What explains their alignment choices? And what are the implications of the latter for Southeast Asia, the superpowers, and the region?


Yuen Foong KHONG is Li Ka Shing Professor of Political Science at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He was formerly Professor of International Relations and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1987 and was Assistant/Associate Professor at Harvard University’s Government Department from 1987-1994. His research interests include United States foreign policy, the international relations of the Asia Pacific, and cognitive approaches to international relations.


Steven Ward is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. He was previously Assistant Professor of Government and Associate Director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Cornell University. He received his PhD from Georgetown University’s Department of Government in 2012. He also holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He conducts research, writes, and teaches in the area of international relations, especially international security.

This event is organised in collaboration with the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.



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