In Between Angry Rivals: 2017 Prospects for Middle Powers Amidst US-China Relations

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Author: Er-Win Tan, University of Malaya, Malaysia
Email: erwintan@um.edu.my
Published: April 5, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.1.01

Citation: Tan, E.-W. (2017). In Between Angry Rivals: 2017 Prospects for Middle Powers Amidst US-China Relations. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.1.01


Abstract

Donald Trump’s electoral victory was an unexpected outcome in the 2016 US Presidential Election, and one that now places many members of the international community in a state of uncertainty over the future of US foreign and security policy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the context of the Asia Pacific region, which now faces the prospect of an increasingly assertive, nationalistic China. Given Trump’s repeated statements indicating his willingness to confront China over issues such as unfair trading practices and the status of Taiwan, there are growing regional concerns that US-China relations under the Trump Administration will be characterized by tension and hostility. Such circumstances place middle powers in the Asia Pacific region in a particularly difficult quandary, given their preference for maintaining good relations with both superpowers whilst simultaneously avoiding conflict in the region and safeguarding their national security. The archetype middle powers in the Asia Pacific facing this conundrum are the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Singapore, and this study will examine the policy options that both countries, as middle powers in the Asia Pacific region, may attempt to exercise in seeking to balance their relations within the context of US-China superpower rivalry.

Keywords

Trump Administration, Sino-American relations, Republic of Korea, Singapore