The Future of Security and Economic Competition in the Indo-Pacific

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
December 14–15, 2023

International security and political economy have become increasingly commingled—and in no region more than the Indo-Pacific. While the policy debate rages on concerning how coupled or decoupled Washington and Beijing are or should be, the security and economic context in the Indo-Pacific continues to shift—driven by government policy, military spending, and private sector investment. Engaging with this reality, we propose the workshop below bringing together academics across three continents to investigate the degree to which specific crises, alliance relationships, multi- and mini-lateral arrangements, and industrial policy are shaping the region. 

Too often, commentary concerning East Asia focuses solely on the distribution of military capabilities as the driver of strategic stability, despite the fact that economic and industrial bases underpin existing security arrangements. At the same time, today’s material reality is rapidly shifting as new technologies re-shape both the economic and military foundations of stability—leading to fears among many that the region is poised for a number of crises in the coming decades. 

To address these concerns, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, the Berkeley APEC Study Center, and the Berkeley Risk and Security Lab convened a two-day private workshop with three themes: (1) a changing security context in East Asia, (2) innovation and economic statecraft in the region, and (3) emerging technologies in the Indo-Pacific theater. Speakers addressed topics such as: 5G/6G and multi-domain operations; contending US-China visions for digital connectivity; constraining economic statecraft; the geopolitical impact of investment restrictions; maritime environmental security and nuclear safety in Northeast Asia; deterring Indo-Pacific conflict; nuclear use in South Korea; South Korean nuclear exports and US industrial diplomacy; and French nuclear exports and partnerships.