A Fragmenting World Order: Implications for Southeast Asia in the Indo-Pacific Era

9 March 2023
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Jakarta, 9 March 2023: ERIA hosted a discussion with Prof. Paul Evans, HSBC Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, and also the Pok Rafeah Chair in IKMAS, UKM Malaysia, on the changing geo-politics of the region in the Indo-Pacific era and their implications for regional institutions, high tech, supply chains, and research and university partnerships.

He focused on how two aspects of strategic competition between the United States and China are affecting regional order.  

The first was geo-economics in which national security considerations are influencing private sector calculations about supply chain location and introducing new approaches to near-shoring and friend-shoring, drawing on the example of advanced semi-conductors’ production.  

The second is a deepening techno-nationalism that defines quickly broadening areas of the economy as matters of national security.  This includes but goes well beyond military and dual use technologies to include research, design and manufacturing of products that are of economic advantage in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution.  

He referred to 20 different sectors ranging from AI and quantum computing through to bio- tech and ag-tech where research and collaborations are being influenced by geo-political contestation and fragmentation. Here universities and research institutions increasingly face hard issues related to balancing national security objectives and regulations with their commitments to open research and exchange.  

The discussion with Prof. Evans concluded with an interactive discussion with participants from ERIA, ERIA Governing Board and Academic Advisory Council Members, and a number of representatives from the Missions based in ASEAN, on the implications of these developments for the region and whether they were inevitable, irreversible, and desirable.

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