US-China rivalry and the role of middle powers in the Asia Pacific
Published 13 April 2021
In this webinar, a distinguished panel from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Hinrich Foundation discussed whether middle powers like Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam can act as a source of stability by, for example, pursuing trade and investment agreements and supporting regional security dialogues in an increasingly multipolar world.
US-China relations remain fraught and unlikely to move to a rapprochement anytime soon. Indeed, 2020 saw a further deterioration in the relationship as the trade war continued unabated, strategic decoupling in the tech sector deepened, and clashes arose over political repression in Hong Kong and rights abuses in Xinjiang. The Covid-19 pandemic served only to exacerbate these tensions.
US-China rivalry is perhaps the most pressing geopolitical issue of the day. It creates uncertainty and risk, retards trade, growth and prosperity, and diverts attention away from critical issues such as climate change.
What role, then, for other actors in the regional political economy? Are the likes of Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea or Vietnam destined to be squeezed between the two giants and forced into making difficult or uncomfortable choices? Or, rather, can these ‘middle powers’ act as a source of stability by, for example, pursuing trade and investment agreements and supporting regional security dialogues in an increasingly multipolar world?
- Dr Alan Dupont, Senior Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation and CEO, Cognoscenti Group;
- Professor Yuen Foong Khong, Vice Dean (Research and Development) and Li Ka Shing Professor in Political Science, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy;
- Assistant Professor Selina Ho, Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
This session was moderated by Dr Andrew Staples, Director, Research and Outreach, Hinrich Foundation.
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