FASS Staff Profile



Brief Introduction

The focus of my teaching and research is on international relations, especially IR theory, security, Chinese foreign policy, and international relations in the Asia-Pacific.  Of particular interest to me are issues that stand at the nexus of international and domestic politics, such as influences on nationalism and the consequences of major power competition on the domestic politics of third countries.  I also enjoy looking at historical material in my research.  In addition to my academic background, I have experience working in think-tanks both in Singapore and in the United States.  As such, I also look at the relationship between political science theory and policy, and believe the two can inform each other.

I am author of External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation--China, Indonesia, Thailand, 1893-1952 (Cambridge, 2012), which received the 2013 Best Book Award from the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association.

Teaching Areas

- International Relations - Chinese Foreign Policy - International Relations of the Asia-Pacific - International Security - External Intervention - Sovereignty, State formation, and State-Building - Alliance Politics

Courses Taught:

China's Foreign Policy

International Relations Graduate Field Seminar

International Relations in the Asia-Pacific

Internatonal Security

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy


Current Research

I am currently working on two projects. The first examines how responses to power transition by non-leading states aggregate to affect the acuteness of competition among leading states. I look empirically at East Asia following World War II, after the Vietnam War, and after the end of the Cold War. The second seeks to address why newly post-authoritarian polities undertake policies that increase tensions with major security partners even when these polities continue to have pressing security concerns. Major cases I examine include Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

Research Interests

- Security - External Intervention - Sovereignty - Nationalism - International and Domestic Political Institutions - Politics of Hegemony and Domination - Major Power Rivalry - International Relations and Politics of the Asia-Pacific - Chinese Foreign Policy - U.S.-China Relations - Chinese Politics - Political Liberalisation and Foreign and Security Policy - Alliance Politics



  • External Intervention and State Formation - China, Indonesia, Thailand, 1892-1952, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
    (2013 International Security Studies Section Best Book Award, International Studies Association)



  • “The Collective Influence of Smaller States on the U.S.-China Security Dilemma,” in Ooi Kee Beng [ed.], The Third ASEAN Reader, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Press, 2015, 157-9


  • “Chinese Nationalism Reconsidered”, in Kate Zhou, Shelley Rigger, and Lynn T. White, III [eds.], Democratization in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia? Local and National Perspectives, Routledge, 2014


  • “China-Southeast Asian Relations since the Cold War”, in Andrew T.H. Tan [ed.], East and South-East Asia: International Relations and Security Perspectives, Routledge, 2013


  • “The International System and the Emergence of the Sovereign State: The Birth of the Modern Sovereign State in the Chinese World” in Heavenly Bodies, Physical Bodies, and Political Bodies: Sinology Faces the World, edited by Chu P’ing-tzu and Yang Ju-pin, Taipei: National Taiwan University Publishing Centre, 2005 [in Chinese] (〈主權國的興起與世界政治架構:現代主權在華夏的誕生〉祝平次 楊儒賓 編《天體、生體與國體:迴向世界的漢學》台北 國立台灣大學出版中心 2005年 [民94]), 407-457

  • "America’s Asia-Pacific Rebalance and the Hazards of Hedging," in David W.F. Huang et al [eds.], Asia-Pacific Countries and the U.S. Rebalance Strategy, PalgraveMacMillan, 2016


  • "Liberalisation in the Face of Existential Threat: Contemplating Political Change in Taiwan and South Korea from Singapore," in K.S. Loh et al [eds.], Living with Myths, Select Books, 2017


  • "A Matter of Trust: Understanding Limited Support for Taiwan’s Defence Reform," in Ryan Dunch and Ashley Esarey [eds.], Taiwan in Dynamic Transition, forthcoming



  • “One Thing Leads to Another: Making Sense of East Asia’s Repeated Tensions” [with Todd H. Hall], Asian Security, Vol. 13 No. 1 (March 2017): 20-40



  • “Popular Narratives versus History: Implications for an Emergent China”, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 20 No. 4 (December 2014): 939-64


  • 「反覆性緊張的後果研究:以四個東亞雙邊爭端為例」 [A Study on the Consequences of Repeated Tensions: Examining Several Cases of Dyadic Disputes in East Asia] (with Todd H. Hall), World Economics and Politics (《世界經濟與政治》), No. 9 (2014): 50-74


  • “China’s Hong Kong Headache: What Will Beijing Do About the Protests?” (with Allen R. Carlson and William J. Hurst), The National Interest (October 3, 2014) <http://nationalinterest.org/feature/chinas-hong-kong-headache-what-will-beijing-do-about-the-11402>


  • “The Lessons of 1914 for East Asia Today? Missing the Trees for the Forest” (with Todd H. Hall), International Security, Volume 39, Number 1 (Summer 2014): 7-43


  • “Will the Real China Please Stand Up?” Dialogue, No. 7 (February - March 2014): 51-2


  • “The South China Sea Disputes: Some Documentary Context — Guest Editors Introduction,” Chinese Law and Government, Vol. 46, Nos. 3-4 (May-June/July-August 2013): 3-9


  • “How External Intervention Made the Sovereign State: Foreign Rivalries, Local Complicity, and State Formation in Weak Polities”, Security Studies, Volume 20, Number 1 (January – March 2011): 623-655

  • “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Foreign Intervention and the Limiting of Fragmentation in the Late Qing and Early Republic, 1893 – 1922”, Twentieth Century China, Volume 35, Number 1 (November 2009): 75-98

  • “Japan-Taiwan Relations: Between Affinity and Reality”, (with LAM Peng Er) Asian Affairs: An American Review, Vol. 30 No. 4 (Winter 2004): 249-267 (Note errata on authorship listed in next issue)


  • 「後李光耀時代 左右逢源此路不通」[Having Things Both Ways Less Possible in the Post-Lee Kuan Yew Era]《信報財經新聞》Hong Kong Economic Journal (August 8, 2015) [in Mandarin Chinese] <http://www1.hkej.com/dailynews/international/article/1115045/後李光耀時代+左右逢源此路不通>


  • “The Challenges of Maintaining American Security Ties in Post-Authoritarian East Asia”, (with Andrew S. Erickson) The National Interest (January 29, 2015) <http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-challenge-maintaining-american-security-ties-post-12145>



  • 「從星洲觀看太陽花」[Watching Sunflowers from Singapore]《破土》 New Bloom (July 11, 2014) [in Mandarin Chinese] <http://newbloommag.net/2014/07/11/從星洲觀看太陽花/>


  • ‘Challenging Secrecy’ in “Big Question: What Should Governments Keep Secret?” World Policy Journal, Vol. 30 No. 3 (Fall 2013): 8


  • “Malaysia and Singapore’s Online Response to U.S. ‘Rebalancing,’” Asia Politics and Policy, Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 2013): 314-7


  • “Lost in Transition, or Why Non-Leading States should Concern Washington and Beijing”, East Asia Forum Quarterly 2, No. 2 (July-September 2010)


  • “Author’s Response,” ISSF/H-Diplo Roundtable on Ja Ian Chong. External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation: China, Indonesia and Thailand, 1893-1952. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781107013759 (hardback, $104.99); 9781107679788 (paperback, $32.99) (November 9, 2014) <http://issforum.org/ISSF/PDF/ISSF-Roundtable-7-5.pdf>


  • Book Review, “Yong Deng.  China’s Struggle for Status: The Realignment of International Relations.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.  Pamela Kyle Crossley, Helen F. Siu, and Donald S. Sutton.  Eds.  Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006”, Journal of East Asian Studies, Volume 11, Number 1 (Spring 2011): 155-161

  • Book Review, “Michael Green and Bates Gill.   Asia’s New Multilateralism: Cooperation, Competition, and the Search for Community.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2009”, Journal of East Asian Studies, Volume 10, Number 2 (Summer 2010): 345-358

  • Book Review, “Allen Carlson.  Unifying China, Integrating the World: Securing Chinese Sovereignty in the Reform Era.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005”, China Review International, Volume 13, Number 1 (Spring 2006): 93-99

  • Book Review, “Feng Zhang. Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History. Stanford University Press, 2015,” H-Diplo, forthcoming



  • Imposing States: External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation


  • “Freedom of Navigation Operations: Better Quiet Resolve,” RSIS Commentaries (November 6, 2015) <https://www.rsis.edu.sg/rsis-publication/rsis/co15236-south-china-sea-series-freedom-of-navigation-operations-better-quiet-resolve/#.VryU-8c7Im8>


  • “Reading the Tea-Leaves of China’s Force Modernisation: Capabilities, Intentions, and a Perplexed Region,” Proceedings of Conference on Asia-Pacific Security, Tamkang University (July 2014) 


  • “Regional Architecture and Framework for Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific,” (with Soo Yeon Kim and Ryogo Nakano) (April 2014)


  • “The Collective Influence of Smaller States in the U.S.-China Security Dilemma”, Asia Pacific Bulletin, No. 193 (December 20, 2012)


  • “China’s Transparency Deficit Complicates Beijing’s Regional Outreach”, Asia Pacific Bulletin, No. 185 (November 13, 2012)


  • “Testing Alternative Responses to Power Preponderance: A Look at the Asia-Pacific”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Working Paper Series, No. 60 (January 2004)

  • “Revisiting Responses to Power Preponderance: Beyond the Balancing-Bandwagoning Dichotomy”, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Working Paper Series, No. 54 (November 2003)

  • “Towards an ASEAN Security Community”, (with Leonard C. Sebastian) Straits Times (Singapore)/IDSS Perspectives (October 7, 2003)


  • “Washington’s Disquiet: A Perspective on Current U.S.-Taiwan Relations”, Straits Times (Singapore)/IDSS Perspectives (July 14, 2003)


  • “Chinese Interests in Post-Reunification Korea”, in A Blueprint for U.S. Policy toward a Unified Korea (Washington, DC: Centre for Strategic and International Studies Press, 2002), 33-36



  • “Strengthen, Not Alter, Parliament,” Straits Times (December 3, 2015) <http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/strengthen-not-alter-parliament#xtor=CS1-10>


  • “More informed citizens can help safeguard Singapore,” Straits Times (June 17, 2015) <http://news.asiaone.com/news/mailbox/more-informed-citizens-can-help-safeguard-spore>


  • “Of Liberalization and Externalities,” Thinking Taiwan (May 6, 2014) <http://thinking-taiwan.com/of-liberalization-externalities-2/>


  • 「東盟的未來」 [The Future of ASEAN], 《聯合早報》Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) (August 3, 2003) [in Mandarin Chinese]


  • 「『國』與『非國』之戰——9/11事件的在認識」[The State/Non-State Conflict: Rethinking 9/11], 《聯合早報》Lianhe Zaobao, November 28, 2001 [in Mandarin Chinese]


Other Information

Office Hours: By appointment.

ja ian chong cv 2018.pdf |

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