RSIS-ZICO “One Belt One Road and AIIB: Implications for ASEAN” | Singapore

26 February 2016 Ballroom 2, Lower Lobby LevelThe Fullerton Hotel Singapore1 Fullerton Square, Singapore

RSIS-ZICO Distinguished Lecture on ASEAN and Partners

rsis zico

One Belt One Road and AIIB: Implications for ASEAN”
Guest speaker: Mr. Randal Phillips 
(Ngee Ann Kongsi professor of International Relations, RSIS; and
Managing Partner for Asia, The Mintz Group)


Mr. Manu Bhaskaran
Partner, Centennial Group; and
Founding Chief Executive Officer, Centennial Asia Advisors

 Mr. Stuart L. Dean
Senior Advisor, ASEAN Advisory, ZICO Holdings Inc.

Friday 26 February 2016
3:30 – 5:30 pm
Ballroom 2, Lower Lobby Level
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
1 Fullerton Square, Singapore
Business Attire

The RSIS-ZICO Distinguished Lecture on ASEAN and Partners is a series of lectures aim to increase awareness among the business community on developments in international affairs, geopolitics and strategic challenges in the ASEAN region. This platform will promote a vision of ASEAN in a wider setting beyond trade issues through roundtable lectures and private discussions between experts on the region and selected business leaders.

Focus on the topic of One Belt One Road and AIIB: Implications for ASEAN, Mr Randal Phillips will share and discuss how China’s “One Belt One Road” initiatives will impact businesses in ASEAN.

Lecture Abstract

The relationship between China and ASEAN combines aspects of both cooperation and tension, which are equally important for understanding the partnership between both sides moving forward.

China’s development provides huge opportunities for ASEAN economies. China and ASEAN are obviously already important trade partners to each other. The upgrade represented by the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and other regional FTA arrangements under negotiation, are expected to harmonize the trade policy framework of the region further. With his landmark “One Belt One Road (OBOR)” Strategy and supportive resources deployed, including financial ones such as the significant China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China’s top leader Xi Jinping hopes to lift the value of trade with countries under the OBOR umbrella, including ASEAN countries, to $2.5 trillion within a decade.

But there are other elements more than just a boost to trade brought to the China-ASEAN partnership by the OBOR strategy and factors affecting the strategy’s fate. These elements and factors, such as a lift to China’s slowing economic growth and expansion of China’s global influence, should be reviewed from a Chinese leaders’ perspective given domestic changes and challenges they are facing.  It should also be seen from the perspective of the United States, the most important counterweight of China in the region.

And besides the seemingly tighter economic ties, China and several ASEAN countries have their own direct interest conflicts and a number of countries fear how China will wield its growing power, particularly noteworthy with the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

During the speech, Randal Phillips will decode the Chinese government’s real intentions and goals behind this strategy, what would be the challenges to the strategy’s success from a multilateral perspective and what it means for business in ASEAN countries.



Randal Phillips
Randal Phillips is Managing Partner for Asia of the Mintz Group, and correspondingly manages the Group’s activities across Asia. Randy spent 28 years with the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service, most recently serving as the Chief CIA representative in China. He has an extensive background in foreign field operations, policy and program management, and leadership development. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian.
Randy has lived and traveled extensively throughout China and elsewhere in Asia for the U.S. Government. Additionally, he has managed worldwide and regional programs from Washington. Randy has extensive relationships with officials and business leaders throughout the continent, and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
Randy has deep expertise on issues relative to Asia, with particular emphasis on China. This includes an intimate knowledge of the full range of political, economic, trade, investment and security issues involving China, from a bilateral as well as a multilateral perspective. Randy has extensive experience unraveling a variety of complex matters involving finance, trade and fraud. Randy has a B.A. in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University, and a Masters of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Manu Bhaskaran
Manu Bhaskaran is Director of Centennial Group International and the Founding Director and Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Asia Advisors. Mr. Bhaskaran has more than 30 years of expertise in economic and political risk assessment and forecasting in Asia. Before joining the Centennial Group, he was Chief Economist for Asia of a leading international investment bank and managed its Singapore-based economic advisory group. Mr. Bhaskaran is a well-regarded commentator on Asian financial and economic affairs, and has regular columns in business weeklies such as the Edge in Singapore/Malaysia. He serves as Member of the Regional Advisory Board for Asia of the International Monetary Fund; Senior Adjunct Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies; Council Member of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs; and Vice-President of the Economics Society of Singapore. Mr. Bhaskaran has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Cambridge University. He has also qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst. He is based in Singapore.


Stuart L. Dean (“Stu”)
Stuart, popularly known as Stu, has extensive experience in multinational operations in Asia-Pacific and globally including strategies for entering new markets and partnering with Governments. He has helmed General Electric in various leadership roles throughout ASEAN since early 90s, and is deeply familiar with government relations and business culture in this region.
Stu is a prominent corporate leader in the region and even appeared as a guest interviewer on The Apprentice Asia. He is a frequent speaker at business events including contributions to World Economic Forum. Stu is also an active volunteer in humanitarian efforts around the region, especially in Aceh following the tsunami.


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