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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 8 October 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP)

Will Beijing hinder Moscow's operations in the South China Sea?

The South China Sea poses a stress test in Russia-China relations, pitting China’s claims against Russian energy interests.
US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, US, 29 September 2020. (Brian Snyder/REUTERS)

Trump vs Biden: Who makes a better choice for Southeast Asia

US President Donald Trump did not meet a single leader from Southeast Asia since November last year. Despite his administration's seemingly disengaged approach, US relations with key Southeast Asian states including Vietnam and Thailand have improved. ISEAS academics Ian Storey and Malcolm Cook look at the Trump administration's engagement data with Southeast Asian countries over the past year, the party platforms of both the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as recent developments in the region, as they give their take on the possible regional geopolitical environment after the presidential election.
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Marine Corps are seen in training in China, 21 January 2016. (Stringer/REUTERS)

Will China establish military bases in Southeast Asia?

The US Department of Defence has asserted that Beijing has “likely considered” logistics and basing infrastructure in five Southeast Asian countries. It is worth noting that such arrangements are predicated on a host nation’s inclination to support such a presence. At the moment, such willingness appears to be in short supply, except in the case of Cambodia.
An aerial view of the Kra Isthmus, the narrowest point of the Malayan Peninsula where the Kra Canal would be built. (iStock)

India’s obsession with Thailand’s Kra Canal and China's 'failure'

News that Thailand has “cancelled” its Kra canal project and replaced it with a land bridge has excited Indian observers. But you cannot scrap a plan that has not been approved. India's media reports highlighting both Chinese aggression and Chinese failure say more about the country's tensions with China than its concern with the idea of a century-old canal in Thailand.
This file photo taken on April 21, 2017 shows an aerial shot of a reef in the disputed Spratly islands. (Ted Aljibe/AFP)

SEA states have few options to mitigate escalating South China Sea tensions

Tensions in the South China Sea have surged since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. China has pressed its jurisdictional claims prompting the US to increase its criticism of Beijing’s actions and its military presence in the South China Sea. In response to China’s activities, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have rejected Beijing’s nine-dash line claims and invoked international law and the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal ruling in support of their maritime sovereign rights. ISEAS academic Ian Storey takes stock of the situation and gives a broad sweep of what we can expect in the next 18 months.
With the USS-Wasp in the background, U.S. Marines ride an amphibious assault vehicle during the amphibious landing exercises of the U.S.-Philippines war games promoting bilateral ties at a military camp in Zambales province, Philippines, 11 April 2019. (Eloisa Lopez/REUTERS)

Visiting Forces Agreement: Uncle Sam still welcome for another year in the Philippines

The Philippines has suspended the planned termination of the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. But the alliance is not out of the woods yet.
Fighter jets from China's PLA Air Force and the Royal Thai Air Force fly in tactical formation during exercise "Falcon Strike 2019" between the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force and the Royal Thai Air Force, August 2019. (Xie Zhongwu and Zhou Yongheng/Ministry of Defence China website)

Thai military deepens engagement with China amid pandemic

The Thai military has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to Chinese largesse, however, it will be able to secure the military kit it wants and continue its exercises with the People's Liberation Army.
A mural featuring US President Donald Trump (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing face covers in Berlin on April 28, 2020. (John Macdougall/AFP)

Unfavourable views: Southeast Asia's perceptions of China and the US worsen amid Covid-19

Even amid the coronavirus, US-China rivalry has not eased, but has been ramped up instead. This has not helped the image of either country. ISEAS academics Malcolm Cook and Ian Storey look at how negative impressions of both countries have been reinforced in Southeast Asian countries.
A jetty in Sabah, Borneo. Malaysia has claims in the South China Sea against China as well as other SEA countries. (iStock)

Amid domestic political change, Malaysia sticks to trusted formula for South China Sea disputes

After decades, claims by various countries in the South China Sea remain unresolved. ISEAS senior fellow Ian Storey focuses on Malaysia, noting that while its leadership has changed, its strategy towards handling China with regard to the South China Sea has remained the same.