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PhD candidate

Kulani Wijayabahu imageThesis Topic:  Agency and Asymmetry: Belt Road Initiative and China’s relations with Malaysia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Qualifications: Master of Arts in International Relations (distinction), Bachelor of Arts in International Relations degree (First Class Honours), University of Colombo

Supervisors: Associate Professor Nicholas Khoo and Professor Philip Nel


Topic description
This research intends to explore the agency of small states in the management of symmetric aspect of bilateral relations that they maintain with larger states. To explore that, how Malaysia and Sri Lanka is using its own agency to manage the asymmetric relationship that they have with China is selected with special reference to Belt Road Initiative.

This study differs from conventional China-centric narratives on the BRI and is a part of emerging literature that underscores the importance of local agency of small states in the management of asymmetric relations. The research seeks to understand how small states can advance their national interests using their own agency in different levels.