Economic Headwinds in 2019: Navigating Priorities for ASEAN (RSIS)

To face economic headwinds in 2019, ASEAN member states should prioritise implementing ASEAN Economic Community 2025 and concluding RCEP negotiation.

Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit

China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Its Energy-Security Dimensions (RSIS)

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is officially neither a Chinese “Marshall Plan” nor a geopolitical master strategy. At present, it involves 84 countries, rising from 65 countries in 2015, and 15 Chinese provinces. Over the last year, the number of countries being concerned or ambivalent about China’s motivations and strategic objectives behind the BRI have increased. Despite officially supporting China’s BRI, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned last April, that China is supporting unneeded and unsustainable projects in many countries, leading to heavy and unpayable debt burdens. In ASEAN, Chinese investments are welcomed but there are also misgivings about the BRI’s strategic objectives which may constrain ASEAN’s policy options. As China is presently and will remain the single most influential country in global energy markets in the next decades, it is not surprising that its infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. This paper analyses the energy dimensions of the BRI and its strategic implications for its wider economic, foreign and security policies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Frank Umbach

Terrorist Threat Assessment for 2019 (RSIS)

The global terrorist and extremist threat is likely to persist in 2019 as the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group goes through a phase of re-adaptation and de-centralisation. This threat will remain given the global failure to resolve the underlying causes of extremism and terrorism.

Rohan Gunaratna