Biden’s effort to sell his return to multilateralism benefits from a clearly-defined national security threat; luckily for Biden, Trump already found one.
US-China Trade War
The signing of the RCEP points to the potential power of Southeast Asia’s neutrality amid US-China tensions.
As the two global superpowers go head-to-head over trade, the two leaders’ rhetoric reveals underlying currents at play.
Responses to the US-China trade war were front and centre at the three-day meeting in Bangkok. Contentious issues such as the South China Sea dispute and the Rohingya crisis also received attention, but longstanding policies of non-interference limit regional action.
In 1967, few expected ASEAN to succeed. The bloc’s ability to put aside the differences of member states has been its greatest asset. It needs to remember this when addressing new challenges.