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Security and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific

Chatham House Conference - March 2019

29 Mar Security and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific

The rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific’s economic and political power has significant implications for global governance. Asia-Pacific countries such as Japan, India and China, and regional bodies such as ASEAN, are increasingly informing, influencing and seeking to shape international standards and norms.

At a London conference organised by Chatham House on “Security and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific: The Role of International Law”, the SIIA spoke about the rise of China and how it is shaping the regional order, standards and norms in ASEAN.

“The Post WWI free and open international order is under significant stress. The US’ “America First” policy and opposition to multilateralism has allowed China to step up to lead in areas such as infrastructure connectivity, digital economy, climate change, and trade,” said Ms Chen Chen Lee, Director of Policy Programmes at the SIIA.

She added that ASEAN’s response should be to cooperate on the upside and manage the downside. This means engaging China on equal terms in order to help condition some of China’s policies to adhere to regional norms. In addition, more attention should be paid to middle powers such as the UK, European Union, Japan, Australia and India. Japan’s $110 billion quality infrastructure partnership could help fill some of the gaps in China’s Belt and Road Initiative for instance.

The one-day conference which took place on 27 March 2019, looked at the role of international law in regional trade agreements, maritime security and governance, as well as emerging security challenges such as cybersecurity and humanitarian crises. Other speakers included Ben Saul, Challis Chair of International Law from the Australian National University, Shafiah F. Muhibat, Head of International Relations at CSIS Indonesia, and Aniruddha Rajput, Member of the UN International Law Commission.