Enter the Vanguard State: Reinterpreting ASEAN’s Response to the South China Sea Issue

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This article analyzes the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s (ASEAN) interactions with China over the South China Sea issue since the end of the Cold War. A neorealist understanding of ASEAN’s international relations is advanced. This approach highlights the degree of security maximizing interest convergence between key ASEAN actors and an extra-regional actor, the United States, to explain the varying outcomes in the empirical record. Our approach is contrasted to alternatives in the existing literature that either overemphasize or underemphasize ASEAN’s autonomy in regional politics.

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Laura Southgate

Person: Academic


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221
Number of pages244
JournalJournal of Asian Security and International Affairs
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jul 2016
StateE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2016


  • ASEAN, South China Sea, regional autonomy, Vanguard State Theory, external interference


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