/ 05 August 2021

US gets cozy in our neighbourhood

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America and Indonesia yesterday launched a ‘strategic dialogue’ that will see the nations collaborate on economic and security matters of mutual interest. In the current geopolitical climate, attention is on one thing: that the pair are strengthening their relationship in the face of a rising China.

BUT I THOUGHT THE US WAS AUSTRALIA’S BESTIE?
Sure. But we have an open relationship, and Indonesia’s intriguing as one of the world’s major emerging economies/democracies. The US and Indonesia already did the diplomatic equivalent of swapping friendship bracelets in 2015 when they established a ‘strategic partnership’. Championed by then-President Barack Obama (who has personal ties to Indonesia), the lead went cold under former President Donald Trump. But the Biden administration says it wants to reconnect with countries in the Indo-Pacific as China’s moving and shaking occupies minds and dominates conversations. In another sign it’s stepping things up in our ‘hood, US Vice President Kamala Harris is taking Air Force Two to Singapore and Vietnam for a schmooze later this month.

SO, WHERE ARE THINGS AT BETWEEN THE US AND CHINA?
Yeah nah, things aren’t great… Last week, ​​Wendy Sherman (America’s second-most senior diplomat) met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to set the scene for future president-to-president talks. Let’s just say things did not go well with the session turning into ’10 things I hate about you’… And with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with his counterparts from our region and talking about things like keeping the South China Sea trade route open (aka disputed territory claimed by China), things are set to be fractious between the superpowers for some time to come.

Image source: AP

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