Chair and Discussant: Archill Niña Capistrano (University of San Carlos, Cebu)
– Faculty member of the Department of Political Science, School of Law and Governance
3.1 Cautious Riser and Desperate Challenger China and Russia as 21st Century Great Powers and the Symbiotic China-Russia Relationship
Dr. Andrej Krickovic (Higher School of Economics, Russia)
– Assistant Professor of International Relations of Eurasia
Abstract: That Russia, a declining power, has emerged as the most assertive challenger to the U.S.-led global order, while China, the most dynamic rising power, has largely worked within the established order, is surprising. It contradicts the expectations of Power Transitions theories, which see rising powers as the most likely challengers. The paper tries to answer this puzzle by examining the two state’s relative positions in the international system. China can grow and prosper by free-riding on the hegemonic order established by the U.S. and is thus cautious about challenging it. As a declining power, Russia is dissatisfied with the order and determined to change it in order to reverse its decline and maintain its great power status. For the time being the two great powers’ interests align. China uses Russia to push back against the aspects of US hegemony it doesn’t like (thereby avoiding the costs of a direct challenge) while Russia needs China’s backing to mount its challenge. However, going forward the same structural dynamics that now favor the relationship may begin to work against it: if Russia’s challenge begins to destabilize the system it may begin to jeopardize China’s peaceful rise, opening up rifts between the two powers.
3.2 Japan-China Rivalry over South Asia: India as an Ideally Strategic Counterweight to China
Dr. Monir Hossain Moni (Asia Pacific Institute for Global Studies or APIGS, Bangladesh)
– Professor at APIGS and Visiting Research Scholar at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto, Japan.
Abstract: With the near-war situation over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Japan-China strategic distrust is now destined to heat up a fragile regional stability in the Indo-Pacific, granted that the US-Japan security alliance is at a crossroad. Very succinctly, the drift of Sino-Japanese power struggle encompassing South Asia is quite palpable in the most recent years. Against such a crux, this timely research insightfully explores diverse compelling reasons why an ‘emerging India’ should be regarded as a geo-strategically important power to a ‘worried Japan’ in order to effectively counterbalance a ‘rinsing China’. By instigating a full-flavored analytical framework on ‘geopolitics’ and ‘regionalism’, the study robustly argues how India as Japan’s natural partner could be an ideal counterweight to outshine China’s growing influence (political, military and economic) on today’s Asia and beyond. This interesting work of scholarship ends with a standalone suggestion that the future bilateral partnership between Japan and India ought to underline ‘strategic’ imperatives rather than balancing or bandwagoning for ‘economic’ opportunities. The piece will be worthwhile for Japan’s foreign policymaking, when a majority of Tokyo’s defense planners and civilian leaders considerably feel threatened and uneasy by forecasting that China would pose a treacherously hostile stance toward Japan in the long run.
3.3 Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, and Regional Integration in Southeast Asia: The Case of ASEAN Community
Sherlyn Mae Hernandez (University of the Philippines, Diliman)
– Master in International Studies candidate
Abstract: While the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) originally envisioned its regional integration by 2015, numerous challenges have yet to be faced in order to achieve its targets. Composed of three different pillars, the ASEAN Community intended to achieve integration in the economic, political and security, and socio-cultural aspects. Thoughout the years ASEAN has arguably made progress on the former two aspects, yet the latter appears to have received comparatively less attention. Sentiments have been expressed with this because of the large potential of ASEAN to develop its cultural diplomacy strategies due to its richness in cultural diversity. Using the soft power framework developed by Joseph Nye together with other constructivist frameworks on culture, this paper attempts to examine the soft power capacities of Southeast Asian and whether it is relevant enough to contribute to the integration of the region. The study then reveals that the region has indeed a potential to develop cultural diplomacy, but it is not seen as a priority despite the vast potentials and reach of ASEAN as a regional organization.
3.4 The SEA rises: ASEAN Economic Integration and the Struggle for Captainship in East Asia
Kevin Mark Gomez (University of the Philippines, Diliman)
– Research Associate, Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies
– MA in International Relations holder, St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation
Abstract: This study seeks to shed light on the economic and geopolitical context in which the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continue to pursue its economic integration for the Southeast Asian (SEA) region under the auspices of the ASEAN Community originally set to be completed, but nonetheless launched by end-2015. By doing so, it is inevitable to discuss and elaborate on the competing integration architecture currently afloat in the wider region outside of SEA: that of East Asia and the even broader Asia-Pacific. Respectively represented by the ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement championed by China and the United States, the study situates the current positon of ASEAN, its economic integration project, vis-à-vis these contending mega-trade deals. Whether the RCEP or TPP will affect the tides of the global economy is without question; the more pressing issue—and perhaps a crucial one—is how ASEAN can or will react towards such developments. Specifically, by drawing on the organization’s history, institutional built, and capacity, the possibility, prospects, and challenges of an ASEAN leadership in a region widely tagged as the next theatre for geopolitical struggle are explored.
3.5 The Influence of Domestic and External Environment on Foreign Policy Changes: Filipino Perspective on US-Philippine Alliance after Mt. Pinatubo Eruption and Typhoon Haiyan
Francis Martinez Esteban (Jilin University, China)
– Master in International Relations student
Abstract: The changes of foreign policy directives of the Philippines towards its alliance with the United States of America after Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and typhoon Haiyan are interesting cases to analyze. The United States was forced to move out of the Philippines after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, while Washington signed a defense agreement with Manila to have a rotational presence in Philippine military bases after typhoon Haiyan. Using foreign policy analysis, specifically by tapping the influence of domestic and external factors on Manila’s foreign policy decision making, the research would explain why after similar natural disasters, the Philippines opted not to ratify another treaty for the maintenance of the US bases in 1992, while allowing the US to use Philippine military bases after typhoon Haiyan in 2014. Though given similar disaster circumstances, the disaster itself have only short-term significance in the decision making process. After Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the impact of the end of the Cold War (external environment) together with the growing Filipino nationalist sentiments (domestic environment) has influenced the Philippines to deny the US a continued presence of its military base. Meanwhile, the US pivot to Asia in 2011 (external environment), and Aquino’s military modernization and external balancing towards the rise of China (domestic environment) have dictated the Philippines decision to allow the US to have a presence once again, in Philippine military bases.