2017 Asia-Pacific foreign policy: what to expect?


Asia-Pacific Circle Quarterly Research Report 2017-#1

Protectionism, elections, territorial stakes, foreign policy has become an increasingly relevant theme lately. In 2017, in fact, the global political economy as we know it will change. Foreign policies will be altered, domestic interests will change significantly from one country to another. The Asia Pacific, however, might gain in influence, both as a region and as a focus point.

On the United-States side of the Asia-Pacific, the presidential elections will most likely result in game-changing policies, particularly in relation to international trade and diplomacy in general. At stake, however, is the possibility of losing significantly in terms of regional and global leadership and the risk of isolating the US from its long-term partners, particularly within the APEC organization.

In China, important policy developments are expected, both internally with deep sector reforms being discussed and internationally. In particular, US elections and the related policy shifts – not to mention the potential reactions by regional actors such as the APEC and the ASEAN organizations – will give Beijing and its various development projects (such as OBOR, the RCEP and FTAAP trade agreements, and the AIIB bank) some considerable weight.

The Philippines, as Chair of the ASEAN this year, will have opportunities to develop regional integration further but, diplomatically speaking, it will also have to decide whether strategic alliances will give preference to China or the United States in a close future.

Similar debates, in fact, will also take place in Australia where an important foreign policy roadmap is expected to be released later this year.

At the regional level, finally, opportunities will arise for organizations such as the APEC and the ASEAN to take a significant leadership role.

In 2017, all in all, the Asia-Pacific will have an important opportunity to rise as a region, not in purely economic terms anymore but also in terms of influence and policymaking. To be continued…




2017 Asia-Pacific Foreign Policy Outlook: What to Expect?
Quarterly Research Report 2017#1 by The Asia-Pacific Circle (January 25th, 2017)

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