[Sejong Global Series-2] Order in Tension: Competing Perspectives and Strategies in the Indo-Pacific

Date 2024-03-18 View 3,116 Writer CHOI Yoon Jung

Co-Author : Andrew Yeo, Gong Keyu, R. James Ferguson, Sandip Kumar Mishra, Ken Jimbo, See Seng Tan, Alica Kizekova


The Indo-Pacific region, as an evolving conceptual framework, has swiftly ascended to prominence within the post-Cold War geopolitical landscape. Initially developed by nations such as Japan, Australia, India, and the United States between the 1980s and the late 2000s - before the establishment of the QUAD - the region now encompasses active engagement from 15 countries and numerous regional organizations. This expansion is primarily driven by the region's growing strategic importance in the rivalry between the U.S. and China, establishing the Indo-Pacific as a critical arena in international diplomacy.

This study seeks to examine the threat perceptions and strategic adjustments that compel these nations to recalibrate their diplomatic approaches. It offers a detailed analysis of the perspectives of major powers within the Indo-Pacific, particularly focusing on the U.S. and China, while also considering the regional strategies of Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, and European nations. This comprehensive comparison illuminates the shifting policies that are reshaping the Indo-Pacific dynamics.

Additionally, the research identifies a notable policy shift among these nations, indicative of a transformative evolution within the Indo-Pacific framework. This shift includes a convergence in threat perceptions and emerging opportunities, fostering new regional coalitions. The narrative is enriched by the active participation of regional organizations like ASEAN and the increasing influence of middle powers and the Global South.

The study also adopts a pragmatic approach to explore how these shifts open up new avenues for collaboration. It delves into key policy areas of mutual interest such as stabilizing supply chains, leveraging technological advancements, and tackling issues like climate change, pandemics, maritime and cyber security, as well as connectivity and digital transformation. These areas form the crux of ongoing cooperative dialogues.

Particularly, the research highlights South Korea's strategic role within this framework, positioning it as a globally pivotal state. Starting with a foundational overview of the Indo-Pacific strategy, the study engages with scholars from various countries to deepen the analysis of their specific national strategies. It concludes with strategic policy recommendations tailored to South Korea’s aspirations, emphasizing a balanced, well-informed approach to both the theoretical and practical aspects of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific.