Biden’s ‘hyper-diplomacy’ goes kinetic in SE Asia

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week embarked on his first visit to Southeast Asia since President Joe Biden took office in January with the aim of elevating engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “unprecedented” levels as Washington works to forge a united regional front against China.

America’s top diplomat visited Indonesia and Malaysia, where he met with several senior officials and reiterated US commitments to the Indo-Pacific region. But Blinken was forced to cut his trip short, scrapping a visit to Thailand “out of an abundance of caution” after a member of the press corps accompanying him tested positive for Covid-19.

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