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ASEAN Centrality and Regional Development Cooperation

Event: Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Washington, DC

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Choate Room, First Floor, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

50 years since its founding, ASEAN is at an important crossroads. Increasing geopolitical competition is putting new pressure on ASEAN centrality. Neighboring powers, such as China, are finding new methods for exerting influence through soft power and access to official development assistance. The 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore illustrated how ASEAN leadership is being tested by rapidly changing events and geopolitical alignments.

The United States and allies such as Japan, Australia, and India, have a strong shared interest in strengthening ASEAN to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. While ASEAN unity has deteriorated in recent years, the regional network remains a critical vehicle for a rules-based order in this strategic region. As Chinese influence expands, the ASEAN regional architecture will allow the smaller states of this region to exert greater collective pressure and maintain an effective balancing strategy. Regional development initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have epitomized this new form of competition. Other major powers have followed suit, with Japan and India announcing new comparator regional infrastructure initiatives that may co-exist with or offer alternatives to BRI. These initiatives pose major opportunities and risks for ASEAN countries.

The Asia Foundation is releasing a study to analyze ASEAN’s role in addressing regional development challenges in Southeast Asia, and the potential for ASEAN to play a greater leadership role in shaping development cooperation. Discussion will include focus on ASEAN centrality and regional development initiatives, and approaches to Official Development Assistance, along with four case studies on disaster relief, workforce integration, human trafficking and sub-regional approaches.


Thomas Parks, Country Representative, Thailand, The Asia Foundation

Apichai Sunchindah, Senior Advisor and Researcher, Thailand, The Asia Foundation


John Brandon, Senior Director for International Relations programs, The Asia Foundation

Please email us at [email protected] or call 202-588-9420 to RSVP for this event.

Related locations: Washington DC
Related programs: Regional and International Relations
Related topics: ASEAN

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