The Biden Presidency has ushered in a new era of US-China relations. Both major powers expect intense rivalry on all fronts including military, technology and trade. Where does Southeast Asia stand in this new battle ground? With US and China wooing Southeast Asian countries with vaccine diplomacy, infrastructure investments and economic benefits, Southeast Asia has to carefully navigate their relations with the two great powers.
This resource page aims to provide perspectives and insights on US-China competition and relations with a compilation of related articles by RSIS researchers and webinars organised by RSIS.
Henrick Tsjeng, Associate Research Fellow at IDSS, wrote that China’s vision for regional cooperation with Southeast Asia is to create a “friendly backyard” which can best serve its geopolitical interests. However, ASEAN’s response has been divided, and with the reality of the China-United States rivalry in the region, China’s vision will not be realised in the short to medium term.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “China’s ‘Friendly Backyard’ Vision: Can It Win Over SE Asia?”
Hannah Sworn, Senior Analyst at RSIS, wrote that President Joe Biden’s recent comments regarding Taiwan do not depart from Washington’s longstanding policy of strategic ambiguity, but rather reflect its adaptation to balance Chinese actions in the Taiwan Strait.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Strategic Ambiguity: Alive and Well”
Amanda Trea Phua, Senior Analyst at IDSS, wrote that AUKUS has triggered divided opinions in Southeast Asia. ASEAN has not been able to establish a clear consensus on the new trilateral pact. More diplomatic spadework needs to be done.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “AUKUS: ASEAN’s Hesitant Response”
Cung Vu, Visiting Senior Fellow at RSIS, discussed observations of the US losing the technological and innovation edge to China.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Technology and Innovation Race: US Losing Edge to China?”
Loro Horta, diplomat from Timor Leste, wrote that several senior US officials have warned that China was becoming a serious nuclear threat. A closer scrutiny reveals a far more complex reality about China’s nuclear capacity.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “AUKUS: China’s Nuclear Build Up”
Loro Horta, diplomat from Timor Leste, wrote that after nearly 20 years of war, more than US$2 trillion spent and 240,000 deaths including 2,312 US military personnel, the United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan with very little to show for its massive investment. China, on the other hand, seems to have made inroads and possibly secured its interests.
Read more in RSIS Commentary: “US Afghan Withdrawal: Enter China and Taliban?”
Benjamin Ho, Assistant Professor with the China Programme at RSIS, wrote that as the Biden administration continues its diplomatic pressure on China, Beijing is likely to further harden its stance in response to what it perceives as a Western United Front against it. As the spectre of alliance politics emerges as the next frontier in major power competition, what would ASEAN’s stance be?
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Biden-Xi: Emerging Clash of the United Fronts?”
Adam Garfinkle, non-resident Distinguished Fellow at RSIS, wrote that the Sinocentric era in US foreign policy has truly begun, with the first face-to-face White House visits of the Biden administration from the leaders of two Asian security treaty allies: the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Two Summits: Enter the US’ Sinocentric Era”
Loro Horta, diplomat from Timor Leste, wrote that Portugal has in the past decade developed very lucrative relations with China. Chinese investment significantly assisted its recovery from the 2008 global economic crisis. However, Lisbon’s increasingly close ties with Beijing have raised serious concerns in Washington.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Portugal: Stuck Between Two Giants”
Christopher Cheang, Senior Fellow at RSIS, wrote that Russia and China, already close, appear to be getting even closer as Moscow seeks to forge a relationship with US President Biden.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “Putin-Biden Summit: China’s Shadow Looms Large”
Frederick Kliem, Research Fellow at RSIS, wrote that the European Union (EU) has just concluded a first draft of its long-expected Indo-Pacific strategy. While criticism is plentiful, EU policy can have a meaningful impact.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “EU Indo-Pacific Strategy: More than Meets the Eye“
Huong Le Thu and Sarah Teo, Senior Analyst at ASPI and Coordinator of the regional security architecture programme at RSIS respectively, wrote that even as the Quad’s cooperative efforts extend across an increasing number of sectors, the likelihood that it will overstretch and overpromise remains.
Read more in RSIS Commentary “The Ambitions and Reality of the Quad“
Last updated on 17/12/2021