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Jakarta Post

China’s dilemma: After the US reengagement in Southeast Asia

  • Randy W. Nandyatama

Singapore   /   Tue, January 17 2012   /  08:00 am

The East Asia Summit (EAS) 2011 in Bali revealed some compelling results, especially the involvement of the US in the forum, and the Southeast Asian countries’ growing positive outlook toward the US presence in the region.

In fact, considering the rise of China’s power in the region and significant growth of China-ASEAN relations in post-Cold War era, the shifting of Southeast Asia’s preference may indicate a strong message: the specific aim of balancing against China, and in doing so, pushing China to react. However, will China respond by utilizing hard power to sustain its political leverage or will it reconsider its approach toward Southeast Asia?

There are two factors that support the occurrence of US-ASEAN reengagement, and complicate the current condition. First, there has been a shift in China’s measures toward Southeast Asia, which leads to the deepening of ...