While the Brexit clock is ticking against a March deadline, UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson sees an opportunity to revive the UK’s world presence. During an interview at the start of the year, Williamson unveiled a plan to build a new military base in Southeast Asia, with possible sites mentioned including Singapore and Brunei. Analysts say the move marks a policy shift from Britain’s withdrawal from military bases in Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf in the 1960s. So what’s driving this revived vision?

Meanwhile, a White House think tank has identified armed conflict over territorial disputes in the South China Sea to be one of the major crises for the Trump administration in 2019. What would be the impact if the UK increases its military presence in Asia?

Thom Brooks, Dean & Professor of Law and Government at Durham Law School and Prof. Zhang Junshe, Vice President of China Naval Research Institute joined the discussion in the Beijing studio.

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