Project: Asia Programme

Associate Fellow, Asia Programme

The UK's withdrawal from the EU would have a seriously negative impact on its profile among its partners in the East Asian region, which want it both to have a strong national voice and to be an influential member of the EU.

Prime Minister David Cameron holds a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe during the first day of the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty ImagesPrime Minister David Cameron holds a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe during the first day of the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Photo: Getty Images.
  • Britain retains considerable economic power, diplomatic reach and involvement in international organizations (including NATO), which enable it to exercise influence and have impact worldwide.
  • International polling suggests that the UK’s profile in East Asia is positive. But its immigration policy could damage its reputation as an open society.
  • The legacy of empire complicates Britain’s image in East Asia, especially its relationship with China.
  • Britain can only sustain its positive profile by engaging with the difficult issues in East Asia, which means acknowledging more actively that it is a stakeholder in continued regional stability.
  • The UK’s exit from the EU would have a seriously negative impact on its profile among its partners in the East Asian region, which want it both to have a strong national voice and to be an influential member of the EU.