This issue of Focus expounds on the themes and issues covered during the 36th Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR), one of the Institute of Strategic & International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia’s flagship conferences.
The 36APR was convened in person from 8-10 August 2023 after a three-year hiatus. The 34th and 35th editions were convened virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year’s theme, “Age of Strategic Uncertainty”, reflected the challenging environment that the region’s policymakers must grapple with in a post-pandemic world rife with major-power rivalry and the possibility of expanded armed conflict. These sentiments were reflected by many role-players in the various sessions, including by the Malaysian prime minister, who delivered the keynote address.
Among the topics covered in this Focus are collaboration opportunities for Asean with India and Japan respectively, as all parties seek to calibrate their Indo-Pacific approaches; how the Sino-US rivalry is driving development financing and the options available to countries in the Asia-Pacific region; and challenges to adopting renewable energy.
There are also articles on how Asean member states should strategically but cautiously engage with expanded Quad initiatives, and whether a solution to the South China Sea’s Code of Conduct negotiations is on the horizon.
These articles are drafted by researchers from ISIS Malaysia, 36APR role-players and members of the Asean-ISIS Network. The editors of ISIS Focus remain ever grateful to all contributors and readers for your support. We wish you a productive reading.
The tragedy of middle power politics
by Angeline Tan
Asean should be open but wary about Quad
by Lucio Blanco Pitlo
US-Sino rivalry driving development financing
by Qarrem Kassim
Seizing Asean’s digital moment
by Janessa Kong & Hosuk Lee-Makiyama
Japan could take lead to bring Asean ‘higher’
by Zarina Zainuddin
COC negotiators will carry on burden
by Vu Hai Dang
Tech, power and rules-based order
by Farlina Said
Laos committed to Asean centrality
by Sounanda Bolivong & Haknilan Inthalath
Asean should sell own success story
by Izzah Ibrahim
Challenges to adopting renewable energy
by Pou Sothirak & Dr Henry Chan
With India’s help, Asean could fulfil Indo-Pacific aspirations
by Yanitha Meena Louis