onsdag 21. juli 2021

US moves to repair its ties with ASEAN

After a disappointing start, the Biden administration is now increasing its diplomatic engagement with the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN).  Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin are at the forefront of winning back estranged regional allies and strategic partners, which have fretted about a perceived diplomatic snub by the Biden administration.

In his first meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, Blinken emphasized shared interests and Washington’s commitment to the regional body’s “centrality” in shaping the broader Indo-Pacific security architecture. He also urged a coordinated response to the unfolding crisis in Myanmar, while categorically rejecting China’s “unlawful” maritime claims in the South China Sea.

As for China’s “vaccine diplomacy,” the US also reassured the region that millions of American-made Covid-19 vaccines were on the way. Regional leaders have welcomed Blinken’s belated diplomatic outreach as a reassuring sign of “refreshed commitment” from the Biden administration, which spent much of its early months in office cultivating defense and strategic ties with major Indo-Pacific powers as well as European allies.