Episode 23

Biden in Asia: New President, New Rules?

Released on November 29, 2020


It took a little longer than expected but we finally know who the next American president will be: Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The Trump era is drawing to a close then, though some of his policies’ repercussions in Asia may well last longer than their instigator. The heightened tensions with China, and his unprecedented one-on-one meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, are perhaps the most memorable. His presidency was also characterised by a lack of engagement with regional multilateral forums like ASEAN. So what sort of situation will the future President Biden inherit in the region - what will he choose to change - or indeed what might he decide to keep? In this episode, we’ve partnered with the IAFOR research centre at Osaka University in Japan to investigate what the US election outcome means for East and South East Asia. We’re joined by a stellar group of guests - from Seoul, Jaewoo Choo, professor of Chinese foreign policy at Kyung Hee University; from Jakarta, Dewi Fortuna Anwar, research professor at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences; and from London Yuka Kobayashi, who’s an assistant professor in China and International Politics at SOAS.

Jaewoo Choo

Jaewoo Choo is Professor of Chinese foreign policy in the Department of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University, Korea. His research areas are Chinese foreign policy, multilateral security cooperation, and China-North Korea relations. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for East Asian Studies Program, the Brookings Institution (2014, Spring) and a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (2011-12). Prior to teaching, Choo worked in a number of think tanks in Korea. He was a Research fellow NE Asia Development Center, Institute East and West Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea (1997—1998); associate research fellow International Affairs Office, National Security Policy Institute (1998—2000); director & research fellow NE Asian Studies Program, Institute Strategy and International Affairs (2001—2002); research fellow Trade Research Institute, Korea International Trade Association (2002—2003). He earned a B.A. in government from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations from Peking University.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar (@dewianwar)

Dewi Fortuna Anwar is a Research Professor at the Research Center for Politics-Indonesian Institute of Sciences and was the Deputy Chairman for Social Sciences and Humanities-LIPI from 2001 to 2010. Dewi is also the Chairman of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, The Habibie Center. From August 2017 to August 2018 she is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Between October 2010 and May 2015 Dewi served as Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs, and from May 2015 to February 2017 as Deputy for Government Policy Support to Vice President Boediono and Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla of the Republic of Indonesia respectively. In 1998-99 Dewi served as Assistant Minister of State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs during the Habibie Presidency. She obtained her Ph.D. from Monash University, Melbourne in 1990, while her M.A. and B.A. (Hons) were from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 1982 and 1981 respectively. She also appeared on Episode 22.

Yuka Kobayashi

Yuka Kobayashi is Lecturer and Assistant Professor in China and International Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and Visiting Research Professor at Nankai University. Prior to joining SOAS, she was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include International Relations of China, International Law, Trade and Investment, Human Rights and Climate Change/Energy. She has advised various governments, think-tanks and international organisations on these subjects. She was an expert witness for the U.K. Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on China and the International Economic Order. After receiving a LL.B. (specialisation in Public International Law) from Kyoto University, she studied Mandarin and Chinese International Politics at Nankai University and then obtained her M.Phil. and D.Phil. at the University of Oxford. She appeared as a guest on Episode 17 and as a guest host on Episode 20.

Biden’s foreign policy in his own words:

Response pieces written since the election:

Pieces from our former guests: