Thi Ha Hoang: ASEAN-China Community of Common Destiny: Towards the Future or Fast-forward to History?


23. 10. 2019 13:00


Trainee centre 3.40, Vodární 6, Olomouc


As the power balance in Southeast Asia is shifting due to China’s rise, the regional order is being re-shaped with Beijing’s strategy to bind the future of Southeast Asia into its own under the brand of an ASEAN-China Community of Common Destiny (CCD). In this talk, Ms.  Hoang Thi Ha examines the Chinese proposal for an ASEAN-China CCD and analyses ASEAN’s ambivalent and selective response to the proposal. She argues that the proposal signals a deliberative and invested Chinese strategy that aims to reinforce the ongoing power shift in Southeast Asia and engineer a smooth transition to a China-centred regional order, using geography, history and China’s economic gravitational pull as the anchors. In this process, some predilections towards the pre-modern Sino-centric hierarchical regional system have resurfaced as China seeks to renegotiate the normative content of the regional order, and condition ASEAN member states into “good behaviours” accordingly. She argues that the ASEAN-China CCD will not be a linear trajectory even as ASEAN and most of its member states continue to deepen cooperation and engagement with China. She attributes ASEAN’s ambivalence, characterized by both accommodation and resistance, to the asymmetrical relations between China and ASEAN member states which structurally induce the latter’s sense of vulnerability over loss of identity and autonomy, China’s chequered economic engagement record in ASEAN member states, the historical multi-polarity in Southeast Asia, and ASEAN’s conscious decision to perpetuate this state of affairs through its pursuit of open regionalism.


Ms. Hoang Thi Ha is Lead Researcher for Political-Security Affairs at the ASEAN Studies Centre of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute – a Singaporean statutory board and research institution. Her research interests focus on political-security issues in ASEAN, ASEAN’s external relations and its institutional building. Ms. Hoang joined the ASEAN Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam in 2004. She then moved on to work at the ASEAN Secretariat for nine years with her last post being Assistant Director, Head of the Political Cooperation Division. Ms. Hoang holds an MA in International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.