EASSC Publications

Title

Re-configuring Asian regionalism: Embedding the Quadrilateral into the Indo-Pacific framework as a response to the BRI

Date of this Version

6-29-2018

Document Type

Conference Paper

Abstract

China's BRI consists of four land corridors and one maritime corridor. It has been understood as economic statecraft, a Chinese grand strategy and a tool to configure Asian regionalism in which participating members are deeply wedded to the Chinese economy. While welcomed in some countries, others view the BRI as a new form of colonialism to construct a China centered, hierarchical regional order. This paper investigates how the embedding the Quadrilateral into the Indo-Pacific framework is a response to the BRI. Key questions in this paper include how states in the region view the BRI? What is the relationship between the Quadrilateral and the Indo-Pacific framework (IPF)? Is the IPF and Quadrilateral security arrangement a balancing/ containment/ hedging strategy?

This paper employs hedging literature as its theoretical framework two reveal that the IPF and Quadrilateral security arrangement are part of a multinational soft hedging strategy to balance the growing influence emanating out of the BRI. Unstructured interviews with policy makers and experts in English and Japanese provide the bulk of the primary source material for this paper. Notwithstanding. this paper makes the most of government documents such as white papers and policy statements.

It finds that the primary actors within the Quadrilateral seek to ensure that Asian regionalism is not build on the BRI China centric corridors, but rather Asian regionalism remains an open structure that includes the Indo-Pacific region. This structure is meant to be bolstered by the promotion of rule-based behaviour in the region. Findings suggest that deepening institutionalization of the IPF and Quadrilateral will contribute to stability in the Indo-Pacific region but result in more localized tension in geographic areas China deems its core interests.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

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This document has been peer reviewed.