ASEAN unwilling to see China, US clash

By Zhao Minghao
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Global Times, February 19, 2016
Adjust font size:

The US-ASEAN Summit will convene on Monday and Tuesday in Sunnylands, California. This is the first such meeting on US turf, which shows Washington's growing emphasis on the US-ASEAN relationship. In November when US President Barack Obama visited Kuala Lumpur, the US upgraded its ties with ASEAN to a strategic partnership. In late December, the ASEAN Economic Community was also established. As Nina Hachigian, the US ambassador to ASEAN, said, the US has established "a new normal of intense engagement with ASEAN."

Southeast Asia plays a key role in Obama's rebalance to the Asia Pacific. This region has a large population of 620 million and its aggregate economic volume has reached $2.4 trillion. The US is the fourth largest trading partner of ASEAN, and ASEAN is the fourth largest export market of the US.

The summit will feature an emphasis on economic issues. US enterprises have shown growing interest in exploring business opportunities in Southeast Asia. From 2012 to 2014, US investments in this region went up to $32.3 billion. US business moguls have been lobbying the government to lift sanctions against Myanmar so that they can fully enter the market.

Indonesia's economy is 15 times the size of Myanmar's, and 50 percent of its population is under the age of 30. It is expected that by 2020, Indonesia's labor force will increase by 14.8 million. However, Indonesia only ranks 28th among US trading partners. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is promoting his ambitious maritime-axis doctrine, which also brings in opportunities for the US.

By relying on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Washington looks to closer ties with Southeast Asia. Daniel Russel, the Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that "TPP is a strategic agreement. It is the economic leg and the 'crown jewel' of the Obama rebalance strategy." As of now, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have joined TPP. Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand are likely to follow suit. As for other non-TPP members, such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, the US has offered the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) agenda, through which Washington aims to improve ties with these countries. With US support, Laos joined the WTO in 2013.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
1   2   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.