As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on many countries in South East Asia, A deepening tactical and strategic competition between the two superpower is emerging and the region is getting caught in the middle of it.
From technology to tariffs to visas, the USA are beginning to mount up a full attack on China, The South-east Asian region are beginning to feel the tension in what some analysts call “full-spectrum competition” between the two global powers.
The US wants ASEAN to stand up to what it calls “outside coercion” as it claims China is are exploiting the world’s focus on the pandemic push it’s agenda.
While China is among Asean countries’ top trading partners, Asean countries see the need to bring the US in as it provides stability in the region.
According to Eurasia Group chief executive Dr Ian Bremmer, US wants more influence over China on the South-east Asia and Asean in terms of politics, economics, finance, technology and defense.
China is also proving itself untrustworthy as the country claims the entire South China Sea as their own jurisdiction where four Asean countries – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – also claim territory.
Washington thinks that China is exploiting the world’s focus on the pandemic by continuing to break rules of international waters and claiming territories in the South China Sea. Ms Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and director of the China Power Project at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said that Asean needs to do more and those countries that are claimant should push back against Chinese bullying and intimidation.