Despite Chinese Shadows, Southeast Asian Friendship With US Worth Cultivating

The United States and China are among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ dialogue partners. Under President Barack Obama, the United States has forged closer ties with the regional group that will endure, explains Satu Limaye, director of the East-West Center in Washington and the Asia Matters for America initiative. The ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos, will be Obama’s last as US president. Association goals include encouraging economic growth and cultural development, active collaborations along with promotion of regional peace and cooperation with international organizations. Limaye details the diligence of Obama, who had spent part of his childhood Indonesia, an ASEAN member, and the group’s enthusiastic commercial ties and cultural partnerships that contribute to improved relations. ASEAN goals are lofty, and the summit won’t tackle contentious matters like territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Still, Limaye concludes, “The fact that such a diverse group living under China’s shadow is eager to maintain close and long-term relations with the United States is a valuable gain that needs nurturing.” – YaleGlobal

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