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The Asia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) focuses on Asia’s importance for global power relations and governance. This includes international relations and Asia’s global impact as well as Asian domestic politics.

Power relations in Asia
How does China’s rise affect power relations in Asia? China is the second largest economy in the world, positioned between the United States and Japan, the world’s largest and the third largest economies respectively. In this context East Asia constitutes the epicentre for global
power relations. The choices made by the ASEAN countries, out of which many are emerging economies and have a total of 600 million inhabitants, will be decisive. The programme strives to explain change and continuity within diplomatic, military and economic contexts. A significant part of the work is currently focused on the tensions surrounding the South and East China seas, the Taiwan Strait and the Korean peninsula.

Rising Asia and its global impact
In what ways does Asia’s rise impact the rest of the world, including Europe, the Nordic countries and Sweden? Asia’s influence on the rest of the international community is noticed in multiple areas, including global governance. The economic and diplomatic impact is stronger within certain areas and countries. This has also become evident in Sweden; two examples are the increased interest in the Arctic region and new Asian investments. The rivalry between different
Asian actors sometimes reach beyond the region, such as the active attempts by Chinese and Japanese diplomats to get European countries to accept their respective views on history. 

Norms and democracy in Asia
What happens with political norms and systems in a region that is characterized by rapid economic growth combined with decreasing Western influence? Questions concerning democracy, freedom of speech, internet freedom and civil society are significant for the internal
development in countries such as China, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The relationship between state and society is affected by both global trends and domestic traditions.


The programme produces research-driven publications. These include books, expert opinions, policy-oriented papers and articles in academic journals. Opinion pieces and commentaries are published in Swedish and international press. In addition to an extensive scientific production, the research findings are thus available to policy makers and the general public, in Sweden and

Partnerships and cooperations:

Building on our Institute’s history as a venue for research and practice, the programme welcomes partnerships and cooperation with researchers, institutes, organizations and companies interested in the region. We regularly host foreign guest researchers and welcome delegations.

The Asia programme is grateful to the following organizations and establishments for their support:

•Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
•The Swedish Research Council
•The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The programme seeks support from organizations which recognize the importance of independent policy-focused research that informs decision-making through deepening understanding of political and economic developments in Asia.


All events

UI:s other programmes


Russia and Eurasia

Middle East and North Africa

Global Politics and Security


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