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Jakarta Post

ASEAN needs bigger voice in US-China rivalry

Singapore   /   Tue, November 5, 2019   /  01:29 pm
ASEAN needs bigger voice in US-China rivalry This combination of file pictures created on April 4, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 and China's leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on December 5, 2012. (AFP/Ed Jones, Paul J. Richards)

As the United States-China relationship has morphed from uneasy cooperation to uneasy rivalry, ASEAN member states, like many countries, have had to recalibrate their relationships with the two great world powers. But ASEAN itself has been largely absent from the discussion, risking regional division and global irrelevance at exactly the time when it most needs to develop a united front. The East Asia Summit (EAS), held in Bangkok on Monday, was an opportunity for ASEAN to go beyond its EAS convening role to a more forward-leaning posture in shaping and influencing its own geopolitical fate. The fact that both China and the US view Southeast Asia as a key arena for influence gives ASEAN some degree of leverage. Most observers don’t expect ASEAN to use it, however, which would be a missed opportunity. Unless ASEAN’s larger member states take an active role in stren...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.