tirsdag 4. juni 2019

As US and China spar, the rest of Asia risks being stuck in the middle

It was a chance to pour some cool water on a flaring dispute.The US and Chinese defense chiefs were both at Asia's premier defense forum at the weekend. Yet neither acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan nor Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe addressed the increasing anxiety among smaller Asian states over the growing face-off between the world's two largest economies.

Instead they used highly anticipated speeches at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore to lob allegations of deceit, subversion and mistrust at each other. And all that the rest of the kids in the schoolyard could do was look on, hoping they don't get hit when the punches start flying.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said there was a growing risk that his country could be caught in the middle of a confrontation between Washington and Beijing, over China's claims to most of the South China Sea and other issues. "Our greatest fear is the possibility of sleepwalking into another international conflict like World War I," Lorenzana said.