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How do SE Asian countries view US returning to Asia? (4)

By Ding Gang, Sun Guangyong, Ji Peijuan, Yu Jinghao, Wang Hui, Han Shuo and Liu Hui (People's Daily)

10:02, December 15, 2012

4. ASEAN's expectations for China-US relations and response to the influences of the U.S. Returning to Asia-Pacific policy.

Chheang Vannarith, executive director of Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace: China-U.S. relations will have a significant impact on the region’s future. The ASEAN hopes that China and the United States can further cooperate with rather than confront each other. Although the two countries will have to compete with each other in the region, it should be a healthy competitive relation.

Surin Pitsuwan: Competition between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific region is continuously enhancing. ASEAN should be very prudent in dealing with the relations with the two superpowers and seek balance. It will remain neutral instead of choosing sides in the hope to gain benefit rather than damage out of the relations.

Danny Lee Chian Siong, Director of Community Affairs Development of the ASEAN Secretariat: Some Southeast Asian countries hope to gain support from the United States but do not want to affect the relations with China. They are clearly aware that the substance of U.S. policies in Asia is for its own national interests and worry about being caught in the middle of China-U.S. competitions.

Larry Strange: We had not encountered the situation in history that two large countries like China and the United States simultaneously appear in the Pacific region. We see that the two global powers have overlapping interests in the region, which is different from the old world order during the Cold War. For ASEAN and other Asian countries, these are very important geopolitical phenomena. ASEAN countries hope that, first, the United States and China should try to make bilateral relations less aggressive competitive; Second, the United States and its main allies in the region should also try not to leave China a feeling that they are containing China; Third, the United States should be aware of the importance of Asian regional integration, especially the importance of economic integration of ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea, and show respect to this "primary task of the ASEAN".

From ASEAN's point of view, the United States may play a role in regional security, which is in line with the interests of the ASEAN countries. However, ASEAN must first focus its attention on grasping the megatrend of economic development. This trend is to carry out economic and trade cooperation with China, South Korea, Japan and other countries, with which it is more important for ASEAN to establish close economic and trade relations.

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