Research Themes

  • Indo-Pacific Strategies: A Comparative Analysis

Sub-theme 1: Foreign Policy Analysis

Researchers in UH and UCL will use International Relations (IR) and Political Science theories and apply a variety of methods to study and compare the approaches and strategies towards the Indo-Pacific politics of several countries and political entities, ranging from the EU, specific EU members (e.g., Belgium), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, several Pacific Island countries, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and India. The comparison will allow the consortium to critically identify the EU’s various initiatives and see how similar or different they are from like-minded countries’ strategies. The ultimate aim is to help the EU better understand the political dynamics and the logic of alliance systems in the Indo-Pacific and identify partners to advance its values in the region.

Sub-theme 2: Domestic Observations

As the consortium members are experts of these political entities, they will also continue to publish specific case studies of various political and economic developments in key Indo-Pacific states as a way for us to understand how these domestic dynamics and transformations influence their foreign policy interests and strategies.

Sub-theme 3: Theoretical and Methodological Improvement for Indo-Pacific Studies

The consortium will provide insights in various Humanities and Social Science research methods and new inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary approaches in conducting studies on Indo-Pacific politics. We aim to find ways to foster inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary cooperation in Indo-Pacific studies to maximize our capacity and knowledge in this rising field.

  • South China Sea Dispute: Maintaining Order in the Indo-Pacific and the EU’s Values-Based Policy

EUVIP is concerned with the integrity and authority of international law and international order in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The establishment of the AUKUS alliance (Australia, United Kingdom, and the US) and the resurrection and deepening of the Quad (US, Japan, India, and Australia) are direct reactions to the threat posed by China to international law and freedom of navigation and trade. Our experts will examine whether and how the EU can contribute to a peaceful dispute settlement and the regional order.

  •  Myanmar: Current Developments and the EU’s Influence

The 2021 coup in Myanmar highlights the need for proponents of human rights and democracy to develop sound strategies to advance these values in the Indo-Pacific. EUVIP has a unique Myanmar component, which means that our experts will continue their observation and monitoring of the situations on the ground. Hence, we are well-positioned to advise the EU on how to effectively promote the EU’s value in Myanmar. Since Myanmar receives political and economic support from China and Russia, its relations with both these countries will also be scrutinized. The overall goal is to understand how the EU can contribute to solving the Myanmar crisis and bring the country back on the path to democracy and respect for human rights.

  • The Role of the EU in the Indo-Pacific

By studying the EU and its member states’ strategic interests and policies towards the Indo-Pacific, EUVIP will suggest policy recommendations to strengthen the EU’s role in international politics. We will also compare the European infrastructure schemes with China’s BRI and the respective connectivity initiatives of the US, Japan, and the Quad and give advice on how the EU and its member states can use infrastructure, connectivity, and transport to advance their economic and political influence.