“Impacts of Geopolitical Complexity on

the Economic Cooperation and Development in Southeast Asia”

organized by Futura Institute (formerly East Sea Group – BDTP, France) & AVSE

proceeding published on SEAS Issues (ISSN 2263-7575):

Time: Saturday, 10h00-13h00 30/09

Venue: Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne

106-112 Boulevard de l’Hôpital – 75647 Paris cedex 13 – France

University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne



Geopolitics of Southeast Asia (SEA) is a topic of increasing interest in the global sphere due to the geostrategic position of the region, its economic potential and the recent changes to the political landscape accompanied by the ongoing conflict in the surrounding water.

The region boasts huge economic potential with its countries becoming crucial trade partners with powerful players around the world. As a fast-developing region, ASEAN is growing at an annual rate of 5% over the past 5 years, surpassing Europe, Japan and the US. Important bilateral and multilateral trade deals such as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) promise to exert positive economic forces in the region performances.

Against its economic emergence, there are certain radical changes to the political landscape of Southeast Asian countries with the arrival to power of new leaders in the SEA and its partner countries. These changes will have important implications on the political dynamics and foreign policy agenda in the region, as well as on how the SEA geopolitical situation would be approached.

The region also faces increasing turbulences in the surrounding water, the South China Sea (SCS), as claimant states have yet to find a mutually agreed settlement and actions. In terms of economic interest, the SCS has a strategic position in the global trade route and a rich base of natural resources such as oil and fisheries. These factors become crucial for the claimants who enjoy actually fast-paced developing speed, leading to conflicting interests and increasing tensions in the SCS. On the other hand, politically speaking, the SCS is an area of various sovereignty rivalries among neighbouring countries and of power balance between great powers who show their interest into the region such as China, US, Japan, India, France, etc.

This growing security concern does not only threaten Southeast Asia countries’ growth but also affects interest of the great powers, who therefore cannot afford to ignore the region’s geopolitical complexity. Discussions, insights and debates among experts and scholars are crucial for drawing a rational and sustainable road map of conflict settlement. Gathering academics with expertise in Asia and Southeast Asia, the workshop “Impacts of Geopolitical Complexity on the Economic Cooperation and Development in Southeast Asia” aims to provide a valuable and timely platform to discuss on the shifting dynamics of the SEA geopolitical landscape, the new approaches and confidence-building measures towards regional stability and economic development.


10h00-10h15: Welcome remarks by Duc Khuong Nguyen (President of AVSE, Futura Institute), and opening remarks by H.E.M Ngoc Son Nguyen (Vietnamese Ambassador to France, TBC)

10h15-11h15: Panel Discussion I

Topic: Southeast Asian Current Geopolitical Landscape and its Impacts on Regional Developments

Participants: Barry Buzan (Professor Emeritus of International Relations, LSE, TBC), David Camroux (Professor, CERI, Sciences Po & European Institute for Asian Studies, TBC), Barthélémy Courmont (Research Director, IRIS, TBC), Alexandre del Valle (Professor of Geopolitics, IPAG Business School), Bang Tran (President of X-Vietnam, Futura Institute, TBC)

SEA geopolitics is a mixture of cooperation, tensions and reconciliation. Some explanations for this dynamic are SEA’s geostrategic position, natural resources, geopolitics environment and the development of the recognition of the Law of the sea. ­The region embraces significant marine ecosystems: strong links with sub-regional seas, such as the Straits of Malacca and Indonesia Sea, which contributes to the expansion of cooperation within and beyond the region. Nevertheless, SEA political environment is complicated due to the SCS dispute. The tension is not only the issue of the relevant claimants but also a concern of great powers because it directly links to the balance of power game in the region. The aim of this panel is to highlight the roots of the cooperation and tensions in the SEA and to discuss the impact these geopolitical complexities exert on the region’s developments.

11h15-11h30: Coffee Break

11h30-12h30: Panel Discussion 2

Topic: Economic Cooperation in a crossroad region

Participants: Martine Bulard (Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Le Monde Diplomatique, TBC), Pierre Journoud (Professor of Contemporary History, University of Montpellier, TBC), Trung-Tinh Le (Southeast Asian Sea Research Foundation, Futura Institute), Françoise Nicolas (Director of Center for Asian Studies, IFRI, TBC)

The existing geopolitical challenges in the SEA might affect the economic interests of different players in the region. On another hand, economic cooperation can help, however, as a functional bridge in coping with recurring security tension. Can the advent of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) accelerate cooperation between countries and peacefully resolve maritime frictions in the SCS? This panel discussion focuses on the different areas where countries already engage and initiate further collaborations such as oil and gas exploration and exploitation, fisheries and how to promote such cooperation in the economic realm in the most equitable way for all claimants. At the same time, as several countries have undergone government changes with Duterte’s administration adopting more outward-looking economic agenda but closer tie with China and Russia and Indonesia implementing a raft of protectionist measures, the direction in economic front might look uncertain and hence, would be discussed in this panel.

12h30-13h30: Networking lunch

Organizing Committee

Trung Tinh Le, Southeast Asian Sea Research Foundation & Futura Institute

Duc Khuong Nguyen, Futura Institute & Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts

Hoai Tuong Nguyen, South East Asia Sea Issues & Futura Institute

Thanh Huong Nguyen, Sciences Po

Thu Hien Nguyen, Sciences Po

Bang Tran, Futura Institute & X-Vietnam

Anh Vu Tran, Sciences Po

Le Hai Yen Tran, Sciences Po