International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism 東南アジアの国際関係――二国間関係と多国間関係

Edited by Narayanan Ganesan and Ramses Amer (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2010)

International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism is the publication arising from the project “Bilateralism versus Multilateralism in Southeast Asia” funded by the Hiroshima Peace Institute. A total of two workshops were held as part of the project, the first in Hiroshima in December 2007 and the second in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October 2008. This book explores the dynamic nature of international relations in Southeast Asia with a view to identifying important and difficult issues between states in the region. It is also aimed at discerning whether states prefer to utilize bilateral or multilateral channels in the resolution of difficult issues.

The book begins by examining the theoretical issues related to bilateralism and multilateralism in international relations in general and the evolution of multilateralism in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Following that, there are nine case studies that examine the most important bilateral relationships in the region. The major finding from the research is that Southeast Asian states generally prefer difficult and contentious issues to be resolved bilaterally in order to prevent the issues from escalating out of control. This appears to be the time-tested and preferred practice though multilateral channels are often used as well.