Contradictions between the United States and China will only increase in the future. At the same time, the confrontation of the two powers will affect other states, and Southeast Asia will become the main battlefield.
During the closing of the ASEAN Singapore Summit (Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines), country’s prime minister, Li Xianlong, said that the region’s states would soon have to choose which US or PRC “You can be friends with both countries that oppose each other. But sometimes getting along with two states can be uncomfortable. It is highly desirable for us not to take sides, but there may be circumstances when ASEAN countries will have to choose. I hope that this will not be soon, ”said Xianlong.
There was no United States President Donald Trump at the summit. The absence of the American leader was perceived by some summit participants and experts as a sign of the surrender of US positions in the region. “For the people of Asia, the presence at the meeting speaks volumes. If Asia matters to America, why is your President Trump not here? ”Asked Tommy Co., the representative of the foreign affairs agency of Singapore, at the opening of the summit from the members of the American delegation.
“Trump’s absence at the meeting is a missed opportunity,” commented senior analyst at the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, Huong Le Thu. By the way, PRC Chairman Xi Jinping also did not come to the summit, but his absence did not cause complaints from the meeting participants.
United States Vice President Mike Pence outlined the strategy of the United States in the region in his speech. From his words, it was possible to conclude that the United States did indeed cede its positions to China, but intend to focus on maintaining influence in the region. “We all agree that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific region.
Let me be clear: our vision of the Indo-Pacific does not exclude a single nation. For this, it is necessary that states treat their neighbors with respect and respect the sovereignty of our countries and international norms and order, ”said Pence.
The Chinese delegation at the ASEAN summit actively tried to win new supporters. The head of the Chinese government, Li Keqiang, constantly reminded the participants of the meeting that Beijing was in favor of free trade in the region, painted bright prospects for states if they develop cooperation with the Middle Kingdom.
The rhetoric of the PRC premier quickly found a response from the meeting participants. For example, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stated that although his country has a territorial dispute with Beijing over several islands, he is ready not to aggravate the contradictions for the sake of prosperity of the entire region.
“China is present in disputed territories, and such is the reality. If we are active, it will cause a strong military response from China. If there is shooting there, then my country will be the first to suffer, ”said the Philippine leader.
Duterte added that he was ready to compromise and participate in the work on the development of a code of conduct in the South China Sea. The head of the Chinese government, Li Keqiang, said that Beijing also supports the development of a code and hopes for consensus.
The growing power of China was recognized by the Prime Minister of Singapore, a longtime ally of the United States. Li Xianlong stressed that the United States is changing its strategy in the region, and therefore more and more responsibility for it will fall on Beijing’s shoulders. “China’s influence on the rest of the world is significant, and I think that it will become increasingly necessary for China to take into account its influence on the rest of the world,” he said.
Wrote earlier that China and the United States are actually in a state of cold war today, and Southeast Asia is becoming an important field of opposition. The ASEAN summit showed that China has all the prospects for a deeper economic development of a territory with a population of more than 600 million people. The US efforts today are more focused on preserving allied relations with India: now it is Delhi who is most opposed to Beijing’s trade expansion, on his initiative, consideration of the free trade agreement between ASEAN and six other Asian countries was postponed until next year.
Another conclusion that can be made on the basis of the event is the recognition by the densely populated Asian countries of the fact that there are only two superpowers in the world today: those that retain the leadership of the United States and are supplanting China. Other states, which geopolitical ambitions would not have expressed their leaders, are forced only to watch the game at high stakes.
Thus, while the Chinese and American press are vigorously debating the division of spheres of influence on the continent, the website of the Russian president sparingly reports that Vladimir Putin took part in meetings of the Singapore summit, at which the parties “discussed strengthening regional security and countering terrorism, and prospects for increasing cooperation in the field of health, high technology and environmental protection “.