Constrained Engagement? The Case of ASEAN’s Response Toward China-led Multilateral Initiatives
This study aims to examine Southeast Asia’s response to the China-led multilateral infrastructure initiatives especially regarding Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional connectivity. To do so, firstly, the research aims to assess ASEAN policies on regional connectivity and explain the limitations of the policies. Secondly, the project aims to examine the variety of motivations of ASEAN countries to engage with China-led multilateral initiatives. Thirdly, it aims to analyse the extent to which there would more convergence of interests between ASEAN regional connectivity initiatives and China-proposed multilateral initiatives through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Lastly, it aims to propose strategies for ASEAN to engage with the China-led multilateral initiatives while at the same time maintaining its centrality. By engaging with state transformation and political economy literature, this study aims to develop the notion of ‘constrained engagement’ to understand Southeast Asia’s relations with China.