Why a hegemonic Washington will not influence ASEAN

ISLAMABAD, May 15 (Xinhua) — At the just concluded US-ASEAN Special Summit, US President Joe Biden said that “the centrality of ASEAN is the very heart of the strategy of my administration in pursuit of the future we all want to see. And I mean that sincerely.”

Despite the warm words, Washington’s sincerity is questionable. The United States has long used cooperation as a cover to pursue its hegemonic goals, including containing a rising China through cabal formation in the Asia-Pacific region.

The importance of the summit lies in its timing. “It takes place as the war rages in Ukraine, showing that the United States has not lost its focus on the Indo-Pacific,” said a recent Foreign Affairs magazine article, adding: “Biden seeks to better position your country in broad-spectrum geopolitical competition with China.

In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US administration’s unilateral pursuit of its own interests has seriously undermined world peace and security, leading to a serious humanitarian crisis and fueling international security concerns.

Washington has once again ignored the security demands of other countries.

When Biden claimed at the summit that his administration is “chasing the future we all want to see,” the audience quickly grasped the hidden meaning: “chasing the future only Washington wants to see.”

Not surprisingly, a majority of the 10-member bloc abstained from voting in favor of a resolution to suspend Russia’s membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council last month. Malaysia and Indonesia have also raised concerns about the AUKUS trilateral security partnership involving Australia and Britain.

Furthermore, as the United States struggles to fix a sluggish economy and quell rampant social disorder amid COVID-19, its ability to deliver on its promises to other countries has also been called into question.

As long as the United States maintains its hegemonic character, its words and deeds in Southeast Asia will not bring peace and serenity to the region.

For the sake of regional peace, stability, development and prosperity, ASEAN countries, currently focusing on post-pandemic economic recovery, are expected to stand united against US interference. Experts have suggested that members send a signal to the United States that ASEAN would remain neutral under any circumstances.

In this case, Washington’s attempt to seek support from ASEAN countries in pursuit of its geopolitical interests is unlikely to gain ground. It is past time for the United States to adopt a more constructive and inclusive approach to Asia-Pacific cooperation.

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