Southeast Asia Faces China: New Views from New Books



Murray Hiebert, senior associate, Southeast Asia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, and author of Under Beijing’s Shadow: Southeast Asia’s China Challenge (2020)
Sebastian Strangio, journalist, analyst, Southeast Asia editor of The Diplomat, and author of In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century (2020)
Donald K. Emmerson, director, Southeast Asia Program, Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center (APARC), Stanford University, and editor/co-author of The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century (2020)

Date and Time

October 14, 2020 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM


Via Zoom Webinar

Register at

This event has been rescheduled to October 14, 2020

It is a good time to be interested in Southeast Asia-China relations. In addition to the three new books referenced in this webinar, additional books on the subject are forthcoming from other authors.  The timing is all the more propitious in view of the current animosity between Beijing and Washington as it may implicate Southeast Asia and American policy toward the region, depending in part on who wins the 3 November US election.  These books are both sweeping and granular.  Hiebert’s and Strangio’s country-focused chapters cover all ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while Emmerson and his co-authors mix country studies with thematic arguments about China’s relations with its neighbors.

Given China’s clearly superior size and power, is Beijing’s incremental domination of its neighbors foreordained? Strangio says no: “Southeast Asia’s future will not be one of linear and inexorable Chinese advance, but rather one in which past dynamics and contradictions reproduce themselves over time at varying pitches of tension.” Is he right? Hiebert calls for the US “to support the region as it faces a rising and more assertive China”—to “remain an actively engaged partner that shows up, brings some resources, and rewrites the perception that it is often unreliable and missing in action.” Is that good advice?  For Emmerson, “strategic autonomy necessarily begins at home. Outsiders can help or hurt. But nothing can substitute for the creativity of Southeast Asian states in individual and joint pursuit of their own and their region’s security.” Is that true, and even if it is, so what?

The webinar will explore these and other aspects of Sino-Southeast Asian relations.

Murray Hiebert 100520Murray Hiebert, in addition to his position at CSIS, is research director for BowerGroup Asia. Before joining CSIS, he was senior director for Southeast Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Earlier, he was a journalist in the China bureau of the Wall Street Journal. Prior to his posting to Beijing, he reported from Washingon on US-Asia relations for the Wall Street Journal Asia and the Far Eastern Economic Review. In the 1990s he worked for the Review while based in Kuala Lumpur and, earlier, in Hanoi, having joined the Review's Bangkok bureau in 1986 to cover developments in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. He is also the author of two books on Vietnam, Chasing the Tigers (1996) and Vietnam Notebook (1993). He has a master’s degree in news media studies from American University.


Sebastian Strangio 100520Sebastian Strangio has written from and on Southeast Asia for many publications including Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, The Economist, Forbes, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times. In addition to living and working in Cambodia, where he spent three years with The Phnom Penh Post, he has reported from Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China, among other countries. Other previous affiliations include New America’s International Reporting Project; the Future Forum, a policy institute in Phnom Penh; and Chiang Mai University’s Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development. Foreign Affairs named his first book, Hun Sen’s Cambodia, a 2015 Book of the Year. He has a master’s degree in international politics from the University of Melbourne.


don emmerson 2Donald K. Emmerson, in addition to his position in APARC, is a faculty affiliate of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. So far in 2019-2020 he has spoken on Southeast Asian topics to audiences in Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Singapore, and Washington, DC.  Recent publications include “‘No Sole Control’ in the South China Sea,” Asia Policy (2019) and ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What Should Be Done? (edited, 2018). Before moving to Stanford in 1999, he taught political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Studies and the Australian National University, among other institutions.  His doctorate in political science is from Yale University.

Share this Event