November 27: Buying in, Cashing out: Abandonment, Entrapment and the US-China Security Dilemma in Asia

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November 27, 2012: Ja Ian Chong
(Click to enlarge) 2012 Asia Studies Visiting Fellow, Ja Ian Chong presents his research at the East-West Center in Washington.
(Click to enlarge) 2012 Asia Studies Visiting Fellow, Ja Ian Chong presents his research at the East-West Center in Washington.

Buying in, Cashing out: Abandonment, Entrapment and the US-China Security Dilemma in Asia

WASHINGTON, DC (November 27, 2012) – China’s relative rise and the seeming relative decline of the United States can be disconcerting to governments in Southeast and Northeast Asia as they seek to preserve their interests in a changing environment. Regional governments see China as a major economic opportunity that looks set to grow in importance, even if Beijing’s ability to underwrite regional order remains unclear. They also view the United States as a linchpin of regional security and key to undergirding the open international economic system, but are unsure about America’s ability to persist in this role. Even as regional capitals fret about continued American engagement, they worry that entanglement with the existing US-backed regional order may alienate Beijing and potentially lead to greater Chinese assertiveness. Advancing a China-led system may encourage US disengagement before China is ready to undertake the burdens of leadership.

2012 East-West Center Asia Studies Fellow, Ja Ian Chong discussed regional behavior in East Asia since the early 2000s in the context of the challenges of entrapment and abandonment associated with power transition. Particularly, how regional states individual responses to power transition-real or perceived–may collectively exacerbate the US-China security dilemma.

Dr. Ja Ian Chong is a 2012 Asia Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore. He is author of External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation: China, Indonesia, Thailand - 1893-1952 (Cambridge, 2012). His articles have appeared in Security Studies, Twentieth Century China, and a number of other journals and books. He received his Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.