02 March 2016
The recent US-ASEAN summit held last month underscores US commitment to Southeast Asia. Although it is uncertain whether this commitment would endure beyond the Obama administration, it is likely to continue due to the economic opportunity and security importance of the Asia-Pacific.
The recently concluded summit between the United States and ASEAN in Sunnylands, California, is symbolically significant for it is the first time a US president had called for a summit with ASEAN on American soil. The event demonstrates ASEAN’s elevated importance in the US rebalancing, also known as the Asia Pivot, in the Asia Pacific. It also marks a shift in America’s traditional tendency to downplay the importance of Southeast Asia.
Through the rebalancing, the US seeks to expand its network of alliances and friends for the common goal of security and economic prosperity for the Asia Pacific. While there are concerns that the America post – Obama may neglect Southeast Asia, the economic and security importance of the Asia Pacific could prolong US rebalancing beyond the current administration.
… David Han is a Research Analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/03/2016