You are here:

House of Commons Library

Southeast Asia: A political and economic introduction

Published Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This paper provides a broad introduction to Southeast Asia. It offers key facts and figures about the region, followed by country studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It then looks more analytically at two key issues for the region: democratisation and Islamist terrorism. It ends with a select bibliography.

Jump to full report >>

Southeast Asia’s growing importance to the rest of the world, including the UK, is widely acknowledged today. It is China’s ‘backyard’ and could be the site of competition between it and the US (not to mention India and Japan). There are a number of long-running territorial disputes between China and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that could draw the US in. The region is also globally significant in terms of climate change and biodiversity. Southeast Asia’s overall openness to trade and investment makes its role in the world economy an important one. This openness, along with the growth of consumption amongst its new middle class, has created markets for Western exports, making Southeast Asia a key region for the UK Government’s strategy for export-led recovery.

This paper provides a broad introduction to Southeast Asia. It offers key facts and figures about the region, followed by country studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It then looks more analytically at two key issues for the region: democratisation and Islamist terrorism. It ends with a select bibliography.

This paper should be read in conjunction with Military balance in Southeast Asia (RP 11/79, 14 December 2011), which undertakes an in-depth study of military and security issues across the region.

Commons Briefing papers RP11-78

Authors: Jon Lunn; Gavin Thompson

Topics: Asia, Economic situation, Terrorism

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.