US to counterbalance China…dominant role on ASEAN policies
HANOI – SOUTHEAST Asian nations are welcoming the United States into their club, a move seen as bringing a counterweight to China following a series of aggressive maritime moves by Beijing.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, will formally invite the US and Russia to join their annual East Asian Summit on Saturday in the Vietnamese capital.
During a stop in Hawaii en route to Hanoi, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stressed that the US would remain a major power in the Asia-Pacific region and called on China to expand cooperation with the US.
‘It is not in anyone’s interest for the United States and China to see each other as adversaries,’ she said.
Southeast Asian nations have become increasingly rattled in recent months, accusing China of being a bully following a series of territorial spats on the high seas, including run-ins with Vietnam and a nasty row with Japan.
China has strongly pushed to keep territorial disputes over islands in the South China Sea out of talks held by Asean, preferring instead to deal with clashes one on one. But the smaller countries have refused to back down.