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US comes a-courting in Asean as it pressures Beijing. What will it achieve?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Southeast Asia drove home Washington’s seriousness about engaging the region. (Photo: AP)
South China Morning Post Online
18 Dec 2021
US Courting

SMU Assistant Professor of Humanities Ngoei Wen-Qing explained why Southeast Asian leaders’ renewed confidence in the US is intertwined with worries about whether Washington will ultimately press members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to align with the US against China. Also commenting on the US appointments of ambassadors in the region, Assistant Prof Ngoei said that ambassadorial positions are just one of various points of interaction between the US and the region, which also includes long-standing military and economic cooperation. “It might not be ideal for some ambassadorial positions to remain vacant, [but] it’s not clear that these are deal-breakers in Washington’s bid to more deeply and intimately involve itself in Southeast Asian affairs,” he added.