The rise of China in the recent decades has generated tremendous amount of strategic anxiety among myriads of concerned parties. In the case of the United States, concerned with losing its primacy in the East Asian region to China, has undertaken a series of actions aiming at strengthening its existing security alliances while building new economic and trade ties that potentially target at the exclusion of China, In the case of Southeast Asia, many of the weaker states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have increasingly faced such competitive pressure from the two bigger powers. How can we theorize the foreign policy opportunities and challenges for such states in the context of big power competition? This talk examines the foreign policy choices of two mainland Southeast Asian countries – Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand - since the start of the Cold War, and analyzes their current trend and future trajectories.
Dr. Enze Han is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London. His research interests include ethnic politics in China, China's relations with Southeast Asia, especially with Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, and the politics of state formation in the borderland area between China, Myanmar and Thailand. His recent publications include Contestation and Adapation: The Politics of National Identity in China (OUP, 2013), and with various articles appearing in The Journal of Contemporary China, The China Quarterly, Nationalities Papers, Security Studies, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, among others. Previously, Dr. Han was a postdoctoral fellow in the China and the World Program, Princeton University. He received a Ph.D in Political Science from the George Washington University. He is currently a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. His research has also been supported by the Leverhulme Research Fellowship.