Cheng-Chwee Kuik is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Asian Studies at the National University of Malaysia (UKM)’s Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS). He is concurrently a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Previously, Kuik was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program. His research focuses on the foreign policy behavior of weaker states, Asian security, China-ASEAN relations, and Southeast Asian international relations. He served as Head of the Writing Team for the Government of Malaysia’s inaugural Defence White Paper (2020). His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Contemporary China, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Chinese Journal of International Politics, and Asian Politics and Policy, as well as edited books. Kuik’s essay, “The Essence of Hedging,” won the biennial 2009 Michael Leifer Memorial Prize by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) for the best article published in any of the three ISEAS journals. He is co-author (with David M. Lampton and Selina Ho) of Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia (University of California Press, forthcoming) and co-editor (with Alice Ba and Sueo Sudo) of Institutionalizing East Asia (Routledge, 2016).

His current projects include: hedging in international relations, Southeast Asian states’ responses to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (with Lee Jones), and the geopolitics of infrastructure connectivity cooperation. Kuik serves on the editorial boards/committees of Contemporary Southeast Asia, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Asian Perspective, and Routledge’s “IR Theory and Practice in Asia” Book Series.

He holds an M.Litt. from the University of St. Andrews and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Last Updated: April 26, 2020



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