China lashes out at Biden’s ASEAN summit, wary of power struggle with US

president BidenThe White House summit with Southeast Asian leaders will begin on Thursday, but the gathering has already sparked calls from Chinaa warning to countries attending the summit to reject U.S. attempts to exert influence in the region, which Chinese leaders believe could spark confrontation Beijing.

The government official said, Mr. Biden will take a cautious rhetoric on the issue China During this period Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting, at Washington Just as the long-standing Asian diplomatic bloc finds itself increasingly caught between the two nations vying for influence Washington and Beijing. gentlemen. Bidenwho put the promotion of democracy at the center his foreign policy, will also host some ASEAN Leaders have a less-than-stellar record on human rights and civil liberties.

he Don’t want Southeast Asia or Asia to fall into a new Cold War,” White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell It said Wednesday that as senior officials from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam began to arrive Washington.

gentlemen. CampbellThe comments, made at a virtual event hosted by the U.S. Institute for Peace, appeared to be in response to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s public statement earlier this week that Asian countries should “prevent” outside forces from “bringing chills.” A war mentality entered the region and instigated confrontation between factions. “

Wang made the remarks during a video call with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, the South China Morning Post reported. ASEANneither of which China The United States is also not a full member.

Although Mr. Wang did not explicitly name. Biden or the United States in his In his speech, the Chinese foreign minister emphasized that Cambodia and other countries ASEAN Members should seize the ‘Asian moment’ presented at this week’s summit Washingtonand a series of other major diplomatic gatherings in the region scheduled for this summer.

The cautious rhetoric ahead of the summit underscores how high the stakes are, and analysts say the summit demonstrates Trump’s importance. Biden Feel America –ASEAN relation his Considering the broader Indo-Pacific strategy, he make time to host ASEAN Even US foreign policy is now being consumed by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

gentlemen. Biden After the summit, he will visit Asia later in May, with plans to visit South Korea and Japan.President Trump’s Asia Policy Mainly Focuses on Bilateral Relations Beijingby participating in three finals ASEAN The annual summit of his tenure; One America—ASEAN The 2020 Leaders Summit in Las Vegas has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While regional trade relations and security issues – most notably ChinaAn increasingly aggressive display of military might in Southeast Asian waters is on the agenda for this week’s summit, where the crisis in Ukraine looms. Whether Mr. will do so remains to be seen, though. Biden will seek ASEANHelp formally expand the coalition of nations that now oppose Moscow and impose sanctions on its actions in Ukraine.

Developments in Ukraine present an opportunity for the president to sow discord, analysts say ASEAN and China, which does significant trade with each of its members, but has recently drawn intense international criticism for appearing to support Russia’s actions.The stakes are high Beijing besides: ASEAN as a group representative Chinalargest trading partner, accounting for 14.6% ChinaTotal foreign trade in the first four months of the year exceeded that of the United States or the European Union.

China have put themselves in a very embarrassing and unhelpful situation ASEAN and the rest of the world’s crap reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after it also signed an ‘unrestricted’ friendship agreement with Russia in March,” said Satu Limaye, head of the group. Washington East-West Center and Office of American Initiatives for Asian Affairs.

In an interview, Mr. Limaye noted that complex regional dynamics are China-Russian relations, note almost all ASEAN Countries have expressed dissatisfaction with the Russian invasion, despite the potential geopolitical risks associated with doing so.

“Even Cambodia has come forward to criticize Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” he said. “The only country in Southeast Asia that is neutral to Russian aggression is Vietnam because, like India, Vietnam relies on Russian armaments to protect itself from the threat posed by Russian aggression. China. “

Myanmar’s military government is unique ASEAN The country expressed its full support for the Russian invasion.Myanmar and ASEAN Currently, Min Aung Hlaing, the country’s junta leader who led a coup last year against most members of Myanmar’s civilian government and jailed, has been excluded from participation by other member states.

High Risk Summit

Most regional experts agree what’s at stake at this week’s summit Washingtonand a range of other upcoming ASEAN Events, it cannot be overstated, one of the most economically dynamic regions in the world is trying to decide which camp it fits best.

“This is an important opportunity for the United States to educate leaders in Southeast Asia about the benefits of working together. Washington. The meeting emphasized ASEAN Centrality, U.S. Commitment at the Highest Level, and Constructive Balance Chinarules,” said Patrick Cronin, chair of Asia-Pacific security at the Hudson Institute.

Mr Cronin says Biden administration will push behind the scenes ASEAN issued a collective statement against ChinaThe aggression in the South China Sea, the Chinese military has established bases on man-made islands in recent years, Beijing Claims sovereignty over the disputed island chain.

“Cambodia was last chair ASEANSoutheast Asian countries failed to issue a communiqué condemning China Unilaterally change the South China Sea by means of coercion; this time, Washington Don’t want to leave any chance,” he said. “In the important preparation stage ASEAN Meeting this summer and fall, close U.S. diplomatic engagement with member states is the surest way to avoid a repeat of the mistakes of a decade ago. July 2012, ASEAN Foreign minister fails to issue communiqué for first time in 45 years as Cambodia feels compelled to protect China Criticism from the region. “

Reports at the time said Beijing Put pressure on Cambodia, which has no sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea and relies heavily on it China for trade and investment.

Meanwhile, Mr Cronin said. Biden Opportunity to pursue displayed goals more broadly over the next few days ASEAN Those ones”he Hear and understand “what they have to say and”his Whenever they need to talk, the government keeps them open. “

“The point,” he “It’s to emphasize that the U.S. is not looking for a transactional relationship, as part of the U.S.—China confront; quite, Washington Looking for serious long-term partners in Southeast Asia. “

The White House sent a similar message. gentlemen. Campbell On Wednesday, while the Biden administration remains highly concerned about day-to-day developments in Ukraine, he and other senior advisers to the president “recognize that greater strategic challenges will play out in the Indo-Pacific.”

“There is a feeling that in previous administrations we started with a firm pace in East Asia or the Indo-Pacific, and then [found] We ourselves face other pressing challenges, perhaps [drew] Let’s leave a little,” Mr. Campbellwho was widely credited with promoting the “Pivot to Asia” policy slogan during his earlier White House tenure as a senior Obama administration aide.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen again,” Mr. Campbellwho added Mr. Biden “will be very direct” in his with discussion ASEAN leaders on american issuesChina competition.

he will talk about our strategy, heWill talk about our desire to compete, but to compete peacefully and effectively,” Mr. Campbell said, adding that any successful strategy “must be fundamentally based on the needs and aspirations of the people of Southeast Asia”.

“We’re not naive,” he said. “We understand the nature of competition in Southeast Asia. I think our goal is not just to work alone with the US, but more and more with Japan, Australia, New Zealand [and] European countries, to demonstrate that…we are working hard to follow transparent practices, advance global practices of good governance, engage appropriately with financial institutions on a range of issues, debt relief… [and] Health and Human Services. “

The White House announced last year that Mr. Bidenof “intends to provide up to $102 million in new initiatives to expand the U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership,” but how does this translate into real diplomatic and security progress ASEAN Countries remain to be seen.

“The greater strategic competition is with China What we need to pay attention to is that ChinaWhen it comes to political security, stocks and favors in the region are falling, so the U.S. should continue to make sure we’re coming together ASEAN countries and be fully engaged so that we can have a lasting impact among them,” Mr. Limaye of the East-West Center. “President Biden is doing so.fact heHolding the summit at a time of land warfare in central Europe illustrates this point. This is no small matter. “

However, Mr Limaye added that the US is currently “failed to effectively China Economically with ASEAN nation. “

China There is trade going on with these countries,” he said, adding that the Biden administration could do more “to convince the whole of Southeast Asia that the United States will continue to be not only a political security partner, no doubt, but an important economic partner as well. . “

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