tirsdag 7. september 2021

Bertil Lintner: US, China dueling for power on the Mekong

On August 2, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted the second ministerial meeting of the partnership and the first under the anti-China alliance-building Joe Biden administration. Brian Eyler, director of the Southeast Asia and the Energy, Water, and Sustainability Program at the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank, was quoted in media on August 12 as saying, “the US emphasis on transparency and inclusivity as part of the Mekong-US Partnership is enabling productive outcomes in the Mekong region and decreasing China’s accountability gap in its own backyard.”

To be sure, Washington’s involvement on the Mekong is not new. The MRC is actually a legacy of Cold War-era rivalry between the US and Soviet Union. But the MRC has since become increasingly weak, ineffectual and anachronistic, hence the new US initiatives.