With Blinken’s Thai tour, the United States plans to counter China in Southeast Asia

0


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Thailand as the Biden administration prepares to show its commitment to Southeast Asia in the face of relentless pressure for influence in the region from China.

Blinken was meeting senior Thai officials and democracy activists from neighboring Myanmar in Bangkok on Sunday. He signed an agreement with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, expanding the US-Thai strategic alliance and partnership.

Blinken came to Thailand after attending an international conference in Bali, Indonesia, where he also raised concerns about China’s growing assertiveness in talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Like its predecessors, the Biden administration has cautiously watched China’s rapid growth and sought to hold it to international standards without significant success. Blinken said on Saturday that China’s support for Russia in its war in Ukraine posed a threat to the rules-based order and complicated already strained relations between Washington and Beijing.

But China’s aggressive push toward its Southeast Asian neighbors and maintaining a strong U.S. regional presence are top of Blinken’s agenda in Thailand, U.S. officials say. They also say Blinken will offer support and encouragement to Myanmar dissidents who have been forced to flee the country since the military took over the elected government on February 1, 2021.

The United States and like-minded democracies are trying to discourage developing countries in Southeast Asia from embarking on large-scale infrastructure and development projects with China, unless they are proven economically feasible, structurally sound and environmentally friendly.

Our goal is not to ask countries to choose, but to give them choice when it comes to investment and infrastructure, development aid, etc., Blinken said in Bali.

There is at one level a lot of room for everyone to do this because the needs are immense, he said. But what we want to make sure is that we are in a race to the top, that is, we do things to the highest standards and not a race to the bottom where we do things to the lowest standards.

US officials from several administrations have criticized China for exploiting smaller nations by luring them into unfair or misleading deals.

My hope would be that if, as China continues to engage in all of these efforts, it engages in a race to the top, it raises its game, Blinken said. It would actually benefit everyone.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear reader,

Business Standard has always endeavored to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that matter to you and that have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your constant encouragement and feedback on how to improve our offering has only strengthened our resolve and commitment to these ideals. Even in these challenging times stemming from Covid-19, we remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative opinions and incisive commentary on relevant topical issues.
However, we have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more so that we can continue to bring you more great content. Our subscription model has received an encouraging response from many of you who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of bringing you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practice the journalism we are committed to.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

digital editor

Share.

Comments are closed.