Print ISSN  :  2708-616X     |  Online ISSN  :   2708-6178   |  DOI:

Volume 8 |  Number 2  |   July – December 2023   |  DOI:

Navigating the Storm: How ASEAN Managed the Great Power Competition Through the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific

Received : July 2023   |   Revised: September 2023   |   Accepted:  December 2023


Sovinda Po, PhD
Griffith University, Australia
Email: [email protected]


As it has globally, geopolitical competition has intensified in the Indo-Pacific. It is a competition between and among major powers; Japan competes with China, US-led allies challenge China’s assertiveness, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a hinge in and a battleground. Situated at the heart of this region, ASEAN is under significant pressure. To set out their views and navigate through this turbulent time, ASEAN leaders released “the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” in June 2019. This paper seeks to answer how Outlook is used to help ASEAN maintain its central role in the Indo-Pacific region. The paper also discusses the internal and external challenges ASEAN faces in implementing its vision. Externally, rising power competition is a force pulling ASEAN apart. Internal to ASEAN, differences in the national interests of the member states remain roadblocks. The paper also tries to depict a future for ASEAN. Towards the end, it makes some recommendations for ASEAN to move forward. In the end, strong cohesion of the member states is probably the key to mutual prosperity and expanded influence, but can this be achieved when the forces of division have become so much greater?

Keywords: ASEAN Outlook; The Indo-Pacific; Institutional hedging; Great power competition


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Cite this article in APA 7

Po, S. (2023). Navigating the storm: How ASEAN managed the great power competition through the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. JAFESS, 8(1), 65 – 79.

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