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Is Asean better off without the US?

AS recently as just two years ago, whether the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is better off without the attention of the United States is not a question you would ever hear asked. While it’s hard to believe this being the case in the long run – the relationship between Asean and America has undoubtedly been a lucrative and beneficial one – experts at the SCMP China Conference in Kuala Lumpur, are pondering if this might be for the best in the short-term. It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that the White House has gone through a dramatic shift in the last two years. Times have changed since former-president Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia.” The new administration has adopted a somewhat different style. Rather than playing “a larger, more comprehensive role,” as Obama vowed, they have taken a more hands-off approach. U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during the gala dinner marking ASEAN’s 50th anniversary in Manila, Philippines, November 12, 2017. Source: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha It’s possible that any focus paid to Asean could backfire in a similar way, which is risky for a region that heavily relies on trade. In April, newly appointed Deputy US Trade Representative for Asia, Jeffrey Gerrish, said the US trade relations with Asean needed “rebalancing,” citing a collective US$92 billion trade deficit. This supposed “key priority” seems to have fallen by the wayside as more pressing global issues came to the fore, but his admission acts as a warning to Asean that too much attention is not necessarily a good thing. “When it comes to getting attention, there’s a sweet spot…not too much, not too little,” explains Shahriman Lockman, Senior Analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia. “For Malaysia, not being an ally of the United States is a pretty good... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Is Asean better off without the US?, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you Is Asean better off without the US?

 

 

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Published By: ASIAN CORRESPONDENT - Thursday, 11 October, 2018

 

 

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