Ian Storey

Ian Storey

Senior fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Dr Ian Storey is a Senior Fellow and editor-in-chief of the academic journal Contemporary Southeast Asia at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. He specialises in Asian geopolitics with a focus on Southeast Asia, regional states’ interactions with the major powers and maritime disputes. His research interests include Southeast Asia’s relations with China and the US, maritime security in the Asia Pacific, and China’s foreign and defence policies. He is the author of Southeast Asia and the Rise of China: The Search for Security. Prior to joining ISEAS, he held academic positions at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii and at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

A woman rides a bicycle carrying plastic cans for fresh water, in Vietnam's southern Ben Tre province on 19 March 2024. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Vietnam and the Russia-Ukraine war: Hanoi’s ‘bamboo diplomacy’ pays off but challenges remain

The strengthening of the Russia-China strategic nexus affects Vietnam more than any other Southeast Asian country. Hanoi is concerned that Beijing may use its leverage with Moscow to undermine Vietnam’s interests in the South China Sea.
This handout picture provided by the Russian defence corporation Rostec on 24 November 2023 shows a Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jet at the grounds of an aviation firm in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. (Handout/Russian defence corporation Rostec/AFP)

Will Vietnam turn to Russia or America for its new jet fighter?

Vietnam needs to upgrade its ageing fighter fleet. But it faces a list of less than optimal options. Will it go for Russian-made or US-made planes, in consideration of its current diplomatic ties with each?
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin making a pitch to potential investors about the land bridge project during his recent visit to the US, November 2023. (Srettha Thavisin/X)

The Kra land bridge: Thailand’s white elephant comes charging back

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has revitalised the idea of the Kra land bridge with gusto. Poor economic viability, environmental problems and geopolitical complications account for the project’s tepid international reception.
The opening ceremony of the Peace and Friendship-2023 military exercise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, on 13 November 2023. (Xinhua)

China's military exercises with Southeast Asian nations likely to rise in frequency and scale

A recent land and maritime exercise among China and five Southeast Asian countries highlights some emerging trends but breaks little new ground.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Lavrov pays respects to President Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi on 6 July 2022. (Thông Tấn Xã Việt Nam (TTXVN)/Facebook)

Russia’s memory diplomacy is paying dividends in Southeast Asia

Russia is employing the selective use of history to further its goals in Southeast Asia. But amid the various reminders of Soviet or Russian involvement in Southeast Asia, there is the constant awareness that history can be written in a certain way by certain parties.
Chinese military personnel arriving in Thailand for the joint exercise Blue Strike 2023, 31 August 2023. (Xinhua)

Do China’s military exercises in Southeast Asia belie a lack of trust?

The PLA has increased the number of military exercises conducted with its smaller regional neighbours this year. But the scope, frequency and sophistication of the exercises still lag behind those conducted by the US. The aims and outcomes of China's joint exercises also differ from those of the US. ISEAS researcher Ian Storey says that all this points to a lack of trust on China's part.
A US soldier inspects the equipment of a Philippine soldier during a squad live fire exercise at the three-week joint military drills "Salaknib" in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, 31 March 2023. (Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)

Military modernisation in Southeast Asia: Learning from the Russia-Ukraine war

ISEAS senior fellow Ian Storey examines the factors driving defence modernisation in Southeast Asia and how the region may draw lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Soldiers attend the opening ceremony of Cobra Gold, Asia's largest annual multilateral military exercise, at U-Tapao International airport, Rayong province, Thailand, 27 February 2023. (Jiraporn Kuhakan/Reuters)

Why is the US-Thai alliance treading water?

US President Joe Biden has done a creditable job in upgrading and reinvigorating America’s treaty alliances. Thailand, one of Washington’s oldest treaty allies in Asia, is an outlier. ISEAS senior fellow Ian Storey examines the reasons why the US is not closer to Thailand, especially in defence.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen participates in the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the US State Department in Washington, DC, on 13 May 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

Cambodia’s surprisingly hardline stance on the Ukraine war

Cambodia’s hearty relations with Russia means that it should have taken a less strident view of the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. Intriguingly, Phnom Penh’s position has tacked closer to Western critics of the Kremlin. Not only did Cambodia support the UNGA's resolution to condemn Russia, but it also co-sponsored it. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has also said he is not afraid to anger Moscow.