Power Transition in the Asia-Pacific: managing perceptions and trust in the 'Grey Zone'

The Asia Research Group and The Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) hosted a workshop (Wednesday 10 May 2017) to examine recent efforts by key Asia-Pacific actors to shape perceptions using multiple instruments of national power, in what has been called the "Grey Zone" between peace and war.

We invited scholars and practitioners to examine the management of power transition in the Asia-Pacific. This matters now for two reasons. First is the potential for new policy directions in the pivotal regional powers under the leaderships of Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe, as well as other regional actors such as the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte. Second, are the increasingly prominent 'Grey Zone' activities that are shaping regional perceptions. Such Grey Zone activities may be considered as more than normal competition between states but less than war, coupled with the use of multiple elements of national power to pursue national security objectives. How might such 'Grey Zone' activities—involving media, economic, ambiguous military forces or island building—be managed to deter or control escalation? On the other side of the coin, what is the current condition of trust and cooperation between key actors in the Asia-Pacific and what new possibilities exist to manage trust and distrust?

2017-05-10-asia-pacific-workshop

Panel 1: Power Transition and the Grey Zone in the Asia-Pacific – something new?

What is the grey zone and is it new? How do grey zone activities relate to the challenges presented by power transition and the management of alliances?

  • Moderator: Dr Julie Gilson (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Nicholas Wright (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Jim Hoare (SOAS, Chatham House)
  • Professor Shaun Breslin (University of Warwick)
  • Professor Christopher Hughes (University of Warwick)

Panel 2: Influencing populations and states via the Grey Zone in the Asia-Pacific

How do actors seek to shape the perceptions and reactions of key states and populations? Examples include 'Grey Zone' activities to pursue national security objectives, which involve multiple tools of national power such as the media, economics or ambiguous forces (e.g. "little blue men").

  • Moderator: Dr Nicholas Wright (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Adam Cathcart (Leeds University)
  • Dr Giulio Pugliese (King’s College, London)
  • Dr Jinghan Zeng (Royal Holloway, University ofLondon)

Panel 3: Managing trust and confidence during power transition in the Asia-Pacific

Trust and distrust are critical to managing change in the international system, for example in the development of security dilemmas. What is the condition of trust and cooperation between key actors in the Asia-Pacific now? How might this change under the leaderships of Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe? What new possibilities exist to manage trust and distrust?

More information

Podcasts recorded: Wednesday 10th May 2017 (11:00-17:00).

To request a transcript please contact:
colsoc-c-colsocwebteam@adf.bham.ac.uk