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Equal participation key to success of US Asia-Pacific strategy

(People's Daily Online)

08:39, December 04, 2012

The United States’ high-profile strategy of “returning” to the Asia-Pacific region has caused complex changes in the mentalities of Southeast Asians. Many Southeast Asian scholars and officials appear particularly cautious when answering questions concerning the United States’ “return” to the Asia-Pacific region, which is a hot and sensitive topic in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asians’ cautious attitude shows their worries that Southeast Asian countries may have to follow the order of the United States, confront their main trading partner China, or choose sides between China and the United States.

Southeast Asian experts said that the interests of China and the United States are increasingly overlapped in the region. However, such overlap does not necessarily lead to conflict, and can translate into integration. The two countries may start their “close fight” in the region, or make positive attempts to build new type of relations between big countries.

The success of these historic and far-reaching attempts depends on the two countries’ positioning of themselves: What roles will they play in Southeast Asia? How will they participate in the development of the region?

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