ASEAN as a zone of the USA - China conflict of interests
ASEAN as a zone of the USA - China conflict of interests
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The conflict of interests of the USA and China in the Southeast Asia was initially instigated by the creation of a “security void” in the region after the end of the Cold War. Today the states’ political claims do not seem to be limited, provoking on the contrary, new edition of rivalry and setting new agenda for further clashes. In a situation of confrontation between the two powers, such regional players as ASEAN are, on the one hand, forced to look for the ways of mitigating the negative consequences of the conflict, as well as of maintaining control over regional processes. On the other hand, the regional actors may benefit from the continuing rivalry of the two economic giants by attracting investment from both sides as well as by getting more opportunities to expand regional cooperation. This article explores key aspects of the US - China rivalry in the region - the clash of interests in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific format initiated by the United States, as well as the contemporary trade war - and examines the ASEAN’s response to aforementioned challenges. Since the transition of relations between Washington and Beijing into the phase of uncontrolled  confrontation  poses  a  serious  challenge  to  the  long-term  development  of  the  ASEAN,  some  assumptions  are  made regarding the Association’s key strategies over the next 5-10 years. Provided that the USA and China remain in competition for Southeast Asia, the possible political course of ASEAN is likely to be focused either on stepping up efforts to engage the US and China in regional security institutions, or on soft balancing between the US and China, involving also other “third actors” like Japan, India, Australia and Russia.

About authors
Alexander Korolev
Junior Research Fellow, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Anastasiia M. Apasova
National Research University Higher School of Economics

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