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China exposing gaps in Biden’s deterrence doctrine

US President Joe Biden’s participation at this week’s virtual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit has sought to demonstrate America’s recommitment to the region after years of neglect. Biden vowed to his Southeast Asian counterparts “to show up, reach out” and that America’s “bottom line is that ASEAN is essential.”

That’s been seen in America’s pledge of over 20 million vaccine doses to key ASEAN states including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand and a $200 million Covid-19 recovery and humanitarian resistance grant to the pandemic-hit region.

But for Biden’s recommitment to the region to be taken seriously in the face of China’s economic and military rise and expansion, his government will need to deliver a more coherent and convincing security policy to keep regional states engaged and out of China’s sphere of influence, which regionally already includes Cambodia, Laos and perhaps soon military-run Myanmar.     



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