Responding to the Rebalance: ASEAN between China and the US


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When: Nov 4 2013 - 12:00pm until Nov 4 2013 - 1:30pm
Where: 1819 L St, NW, Washington, DC. Sixth Floor Conference Room

Responding to the Rebalance: ASEAN between China and the US

An Asia-Pacific Security Seminar featuring:

Mr. Julio Amador III
2013 Asia Studies Visiting Fellow, East-West Center in Washington
Foreign Affairs Research Specialist, Philippines’ Foreign Service Institute

Dr. Charmaine Misalucha (Discussant)
Assistant Professor, De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines

11/4 "Responding to the Rebalance: ASEAN between China and the US"  East-West Center in Washington Director, Dr. Satu Limaye (right), moderates the lively discussion, asking questions of his own at Julio Amador's (left) fellowship seminar. Dr. Charmine Mishalucha (center) served as discussant for Mr. Amador's presentation on ASEAN's management of great power relations in Asia.

The rebalancing of the United States to Asia in an effort to stem China’s surge in regional leadership has placed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a difficult position. While ASEAN recognizes China as one of its most important Dialogue Partners, the regional association’s members have always recognized that the US plays a special role in the Asia Pacific as the guarantor of security. Meanwhile, China and the US are set on a rivalry that, while not officially acknowledged, is apparent to observers in Southeast Asia. Within this context, how is ASEAN as a regional organization dealing with Chinese-American rivalry?

In his off-the-record presentation at the East-West Center in Washington, Mr. Julio Amador III described the regional perspectives of the direction of ASEAN in the context of the US Rebalance. In addressing the issue of whether and how can ASEAN manage great power competition in Asia, he discussed the tensions in the South China Sea as the backdrop for the rivalry between China and the US, and ASEAN’s subsequent attempts at autonomy in settling the issue. He also assessed ASEAN’s internal dynamics and described how member-states have attempted to form a regional consensus while maintaining their national strategic interests. He concluded that while China and the US contend for primacy in the region, ASEAN still has a role to play, but only if it is willing to move beyond the narrow strategic limits set by its member states.

Dr. Charmain Misalucha participated as a discussant and commented on Mr. Amador's arguments. She agreed that ASEAN is asserting its independence from the great powers, but to what extent and what cost? Offering counter-questions to Mr. Amador's description of ASEAN responding to a US-China rivalry in Asia, she asked if the two powers view each other as rivals, or if it is a projection of regional fears. And in the case of such a rivalry, how has or can ASEAN transform its dynamics? These points and counterpoints were discussed in the lively audience participation segment that followed.

Julio Amador III is an Asia Studies Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and a Fulbright Scholar at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. He is on leave as a Foreign Affairs Research Specialist at the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) of the Philippines’ Foreign Service Institute. He provides policy analysis and strategic advice on ASEAN issues, Southeast Asia security and international relations, and foreign policy to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Amador has held numerous fellowships in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Dr. Charmaine Misalucha is currently a US-ASEAN Fulbright Fellow in the School of International Service of American University. She is also an Assistant Professor at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, specializing international relations, security studies, and the arms trade. She received her PhD in International Relations from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Grace Ruch
Phone: 202-327-9762