East Asia and ASEAN Program

East Asia and ASEAN Program

The suite of courses within this program cover questions concerning the regional order through to the specific politics, economic approaches, and socio-cultural considerations of individual states within the region. More specifically, course subject matters include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the challenges and opportunities associated with key regional and/or bilateral relationships, critical security issues such as the South China Sea and/or East China Sea. Courses on the politics, security, economy, and/or socio-cultural considerations of individual East Asia countries are also offered within this program.

Professional Development Course (PDC) List Length

Understanding ASEAN Diplomacy: The Economic, Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Dimensions

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The course commences with a review of the historical background to the formation of ASEAN including the lasting impact of colonialism, the various struggles for independence, pre-ASEAN tensions, and conflict (e.g. Konfrontasi) and the struggle (desire) to consolidate nation and state-building in the absence of intra-regional rivalry (i.e. national resilience). The interactive sessions then focus on ASEAN’s early decades and the (unstated) security role of the Association in the face of great power rivalry, the spread of communism across Indo-China, and associated communist and other insurgencies within. By day three, course participants will examine the key imperatives behind the emergence of economic cooperation and the extent of economic integration that has followed. The fourth day considers the implications of membership expansion to embrace all of Southeast Asia (except Timor Leste) and the rise of new political and strategic divisions as ASEAN has once again succumbed to great power influence and rivalry. By the conclusion of the course, participants will also understand how various cultural, ethnic, religious and other domestic factors inform the current utility of ASEAN and its likely trajectory. This course is critical for any policy maker with a focus, in part or in whole, on Southeast Asia or who may be posted to a country within the region. Abstract Here
5 Days

Southeast Asia-China Relations at the Cusp of Change

Strategically located and with a long history of economic and people-to-people ties with China, Southeast Asia is expected by many observers to become part of China’s sphere of influence or its strategic backyard. Among the constraints to China’s aspirations to become the pre-eminent power in Asia are disputes between China and several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, ASEAN’s jealous guarding of its centrality and autonomy, and countervailing policies of other major states. Thus, the course examines the historical, cultural, economic, political-diplomatic, and security dynamics of China’s relations with Southeast Asia. It also explores challenges and dilemmas facing selected countries as they seek to balance the economic opportunities and security threats presented by China’s growing capabilities, at a time of profound change and unpredictability in the international environment. It concludes by analysing the foregoing’s implications for Australia and other regional states.

5 Days

Understanding Indonesia’s Contemporary Strategic Thinking

The course is innovatively designed to capture complexity in understanding Indonesia as a country with mixture of a cultural orthodoxy due to a long history of struggle, well-regarded foreign policy activism, decentralized democracy, and as a vibrant emerging Middle Power. Indonesia – with its virtues of size, resources, and history – is one of a few countries in the world that has the potential to become a regional hegemon. It has always aspired to be the leader of ASEAN. However, Indonesia’s ambitions remain constrained by a variety of domestic conundrums as examined throughout the course. Moreover, the course selectively addresses various aspects of Indonesian history, politics, culture in the context of its influence on foreign policy and defence. This is important to help participants develop a comprehensive picture of Indonesia and is also accomplished by incorporating scholarly research with sound policy-orientated insights.
5 Days

The South China Sea Dispute: Developments, Challenges, and Policy Implications

This course imparts a comprehensive understanding of the interdependent and complex issues that inform and have inflamed the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The first day examines the historical considerations behind the contending territorial claims and how shifting dynamics concerning fisheries, oil and gas, and freedom of navigation have affected regional hostilities. The second day examines the conundrum between domestic considerations (e.g. nationalism and propaganda) and state responsibilities under international law (e.g. UNCLOS and the July 2016 Arbitral Award). The third day assesses various bilateral and multilateral approaches to conflict prevention and resolution and concludes with an interactive extrapolation of how best to response to the issue in the future. By the conclusion of the course, participants will benefit from a much-enhanced understanding of the respective claimant state positions and, in the process, be challenged to think ‘outside the box’ when tasked with developing their own solutions to such complex problems. 
4 Days

The East and South China Sea Territorial Disputes: Domestic Drivers, Claimant Issues, and Great Power Complications

The course provides each participant with a nuanced understanding of the key areas of convergence and divergence between the East China Sea disputes and the South China Sea disputes. In so doing, participants will acquire a policy relevant understanding of how each dispute informs the respective positions of larger powers including China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and Australia. The course then shifts its focus to the underlying considerations behind the key East China Sea and the South China Sea claimant states. In so doing, the course investigates how these factors interrelate with international law, broader regional relations, multilateralism, great power rivalry, and the risk of conflict. These learning outcomes are then reinforced by examining the interplay of domestic dynamics such as the historical relationships between key states, culture and nationalism, and the politics of authoritarianism (e.g. regime legitimacy and survival). By the conclusion, an understanding of potential confidence building measures, preventative diplomacy, and conflict resolution approaches will also be provided. 
3 Days

North Korea: The Domestic Environment and the Future of the Regime

North Korea is widely viewed as an enigma - a secretive, isolated, and backward state whose belligerence and anachronistic worship of its leader provokes unease in the U.S. and among its neighbours. However, a study of its history shows there is a rationality and a purpose behind its unusual international behaviour, and there is good reason for its diversion of scarce resources to develop a nuclear deterrent. Participants will gain a better appreciation of what drives Pyongyang and why the Kim dynasty is so deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions for the future of the peninsula. Both North and South Korea want reunification in the longer term - but have very different notions of what it might look like. North Korea can be influenced towards more moderate policies but a “big stick” approach will likely be counterproductive. 
3 Days

Asian Cybersecurity: Spheres of Critical Impact and Dilemmas for Policy


Australia’s Strategic Thinking, Foreign Policy, and Economic Relations


Religious Conservatism in Southeast Asia: Trends and Implications


The End of the Third Wave: The Future of Democracy and Political Freedoms in East Asia