Carleton’s David Carment, editor of Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ) and Director of the School of Canadian Studies, is pleased to announce the release of Issue 2 of Volume 29: Canada and Southeast Asia Relations.

This special issue on Canada’s evolving relationship with Southeast Asia is guest edited by Kai Ostwald (University of British Columbia), Dominique Caouette (Université de Montréal) and Grégoire Legault (University of Ottawa). It comes at a pivotal time as Canada seeks to deliver on its ambitious Indo-Pacific Strategy, including through Prime Minister Trudeau’s September 2023 visit to the region.

According to Ostwald, who spearheaded the study, the purpose of the special issue is to “shed light on both the remarkable opportunities and formidable challenges that building stronger ties to Southeast Asia entails.”

Following a comprehensive introduction by Ostwald, Legault and Cauoette that provides a primer on the Canada-Southeast Asia relationship, each of the five research articles examine key aspects of the relationship. Former ambassador Philip Calvert writes on the highs and lows of Canada’s engagement with the region over the past four decades. Stéphanie Martel of Queen’s University focuses on Canada’s relationship the regional organization ASEAN, highlighting Canada’s struggles to distinguish itself from other ASEAN dialogue partners. David Webster of King’s University College focuses on Canadian development assistance in Southeast Asia, which contributed to a high point in relations during the late 1990s. Jennifer Mustapha of Huron University College addresses the security dimension by unpacking the implications of the Indo-Pacific concept. Finally, Isabel Chew from the University of British Columbia examines how Canada is perceived by Southeast Asians, arguing that while the impression of Canada is often positive, knowledge about it is limited and trails behind other important external actors.

The issue is rounded out by five shorter policy commentaries and three book reviews. Paul Evans from the University of British Columbia considers how the ASEAN region responds to China’s rise and contrasts that with the assumptions underpinning Canada’s strategy. Jonathan Berkshire Miller of the Macdonald Laurier Institute notes the reluctance of Southeast Asian countries to “pick sides” between the United States and China, and explores how Canada might respond to that challenge. Julia Bentley shifts focus the former Canada-ASEAN Centre’s successes and limitations, which offer potential guidance as Canada seeks to expand its presence in the region. Erik Martinez Kuhonta of McGill University reviews the field of Southeast Asian Studies in Canadian universities, assessing how it might support Canada’s foreign policy objectives. Abidin Kusno of York University addresses how diaspora and civil society shape the Canada-Southeast Asia relationship. Finally, Alexandre Pelletier of Laval University, Jessica DiCarlo of the University of British Columbia, and Serge Granger of Université de Sherbrooke provide critical reviews of three important new books on the evolving relationship between China and Southeast Asia.   

The key theme that emerges from the special issue is that while “Southeast Asia is vital to many of Canada’s diversification and sustainable growth objectives, it must overcome a reputation as a fair-weather friend and carefully distinguish itself from other countries in order for the relationship’s full potential to be realized”, says Ostwald. 

The Editors are grateful for support from Global Affairs Canada.

Established in 1992, CFPJ is now Canada’s leading journal of international affairs. CFPJ foregrounds quantitative and qualitative methodologies, especially empirically based original studies that facilitate grounded and fresh analysis to serve theory, policy, and strategy development.

CFPJ is published by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and this third issue marks the end of its 30th year of publication. The publication can be viewed by following this link:

For information about submitting articles for review, subscriptions and content contact the Journal’s Editor, David Carment, at

Picture via Republic of Korea

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