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  • Author: Wai-Mun Chia, Pradumna B. Rana
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia - the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) "Go West" and the recent "New Silk Roads" policies of China; (ii) "Look East" policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia's security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership Plan of Action (2010- 2015) represents the latest effort in a relationship that dates back to 1977, the year that Canada became one of the first countries to be designated a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. According to the Plan of Action, ASEAN and Canada will 'work and consult closely in responding to regional and international challenges, and in building an ASEAN-centred regional architecture which is open and inclusive'. They will also 'promote the development of enhanced ASEAN connectivity which will help foster the building of an ASEAN Community by 2015'.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Canada, Asia
  • Author: Christopher Freise
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Much attention has been devoted to the Obama Administration's “Pacific Pivot” and the vocal reassertion of an upgraded security, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia by the United States. Commentators have ascribed various rationales to these efforts, including speculation that this is part of a “containment” strategy towards China, a reaction to the US presidential election cycle, or, more benignly, an effort to forestall concerns of American withdrawal from the region. These explanations have some elements of truth, but also fall short of fully describing or understanding the strategic rationale behind these moves.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia