Asia Pacific


IISS research on the Asia-Pacific informs regional policy through the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit and the year-round activities of the IISS-Asia office in Singapore.

Expert: Dr Tim Huxley

Tim Huxley

Executive Director, IISS-Asia   

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New IISS report

The EU's role in Southeast Asian security

This report analyses the package of initiatives the EU is pursuing in Southeast Asia and the contributions it is making to the regional security capabilities and concerns of ASEAN. It also considers how EU engagement here might be developed to deliver more strategic effect.

  • Strategic Comments

    The Philippines: Duterte’s wilful start

    19 October 2016. 

    A hundred days into his single six-year term, President Rodrigo Duterte has already asserted his powerful political position by undertaking a brutal campaign on drugs, weakening the Philippines' longstanding alliance with the United States and warming to China. These pronounced shifts in policy, however, have drawn considerable criticism from influential figures and groups inside as well as outside the Philippines. Duterte may find it difficult to maintain such controversial policies throughout his presidency.

  • Expert Commentary

    Straits Times: Sitting on the fence is a good option for Asian countries

    07 October 2016.  William Choong argues that there's no need for Asian countries to choose between America and China for now, as China lacks the wherewithal to challenge US supremacy.

  • Strategic Comments

    North Korea’s fifth nuclear test

    05 October 2016. 

    North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on 9 September, and is moving towards mounting a nuclear bomb on ballistic missiles of increasing range. The Obama administration's policy of strategic patience may now be insufficient. Pyongyang is unlikely to restrain its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile development in the absence of greater US and Chinese assertiveness and more creative strategies.

  • Shangri-La Voices

    Paul Pongphisoot: Generational change at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue

    25 August 2016.  Generational change in Southeast Asia will reshape the way in which diplomacy and international cooperation is conducted in the region. Paul Pongphisoot analyses this phenomenon, arguing that the IISS Southeast Asian Young Leaders' Programme is a step on the path to a new style of security community.

  • Strategic Comments

    Turbulence in the Taiwan Strait

    24 August 2016. 

    The election of Tsai Ing-wen as president of Taiwan by an electorate increasingly inclined towards independence has made Beijing less tolerant of strategic ambiguity and more apt to attempt to impose reunification. Washington may need to undertake more proactive diplomacy to stave off a military confrontation.

  • Shangri-La Voices

    Kelvin Wong: Reflections on the 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue

    19 August 2016.  Kelvin Wong, of the IISS Southeast Asian Young Leaders' Programme, reflects on the insights provided by senior executives of major international defence companies speaking at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue.

  • Expert Commentary

    BBC: What do 'hangars' on disputed islands in the South China Sea tell us?

    10 August 2016.  By Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security Satellite images appear to show China has built aircraft hangars on disputed islands in the South China Sea. The images, from late July, were released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and appear to confirm that Chinese military fighter jets could, at some point, be based on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs. The revelation is likely to stoke tension with neighbours and...

  • Expert Commentary

    BBC News: The submarines and rivalries underneath the South China Sea

    11 July 2016.  By Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security A tribunal is about to rule on China's territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. But Beijing's desire for control is about much more than rocks above the water, argues analyst Alexander Neill. It is also central to China's plans for a submarine nuclear force able to break out into the Pacific Ocean. Historically, China's national infrastructure projects have tended to be...

  • Shangri-La Voices

    Evan A. Laksmana: A growing strategic impasse in the Indo-Pacific?

    08 July 2016.  Drawing on his experience of attending the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, Evan Laksmana examines the competing visions presented at the summit of how tensions in the Indo-Pacific region should be resolved. To his dismay, these visions suggest that the established strategic framework is being set aside in favour of great power politics.

  • Events

    Post-Election Myanmar: Context, Opportunities and Challenges for Business

    22 June 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Vicky Bowman, Director, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business; Former Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Myanmar
    Arundel House, London
    Wednesday 22 June 2016, 12.30–1.30PM BST

Regional Security Assessment 2016

Key developments in Asia-Pacific security

This dossier assesses a range of Asia-Pacific regional strategic, geopolitical, economic, military and security topics.

New Adelphi Book

China's Cyber Power

As China increasingly gains the economic benefits of global connectivity, the West’s technological edge is fast eroding.