Seminar: China’s “New Assertiveness” and the Decline in East Asian Regionalism: Implications for ASEAN


About the Seminar

The Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 awakened a decade of vibrant scholarly and political debate touting East Asian regionalism as “inevitable and necessary”. Today, however, the prospect of regionalism seems to have lost its luster in favour of a darker regional narrative. Has the heyday of East Asian regionalism and ASEAN’s vision of an emerging Asian community now come to pass? This presentation explores the declining policy and scholarly narrative of Asian regionalism since 2011 within the broader context of Asian security trends. Until recently, discussion of East Asia’s future vacillated between two different narratives: one marked by robust economic growth, increased interdependence, and the growth of Asian regionalism, and the other characterized by increased tensions, rising military budgets, and slower economic growth with conflict looming on the horizon. Since 2011, however, the discourse has shifted in favour of the latter narrative, casting a pall over the future of Asian regionalism. In particular, perceptions of China’s increasing assertiveness have resulted in a turn to more pragmatic interpretations of Asian regionalism defined by power balancing and institutional complexity. Thus, if ASEAN remains the driver of East Asian regionalism, China holds the key to further integration.

About the Speaker

Andrew I. Yeo is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of Asian Studies at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Dr Yeo is currently completing two book projects: the first explores the evolution of East Asia’s institutional architecture from 1945 to the present. The second is a co-edited volume titled Living in an Age of Mistrust (forthcoming with Routledge Press). His other research has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Perspectives on Politics, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Comparative Politics, and Journal of East Asian Studies among others. He is the principal investigator of a two-year Korea Foundation sponsored project on North Korean human rights discourse and transnational advocacy. Dr Yeo is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and was a Mansfield Foundation U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus Fellow in 2013-2014. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University in 2008 and a BA magna cum laude in Psychology and International Studies from Northwestern University.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 12 June 2017.


Jun 13 2017


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2