Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Beijing [China], November 22 (ANI): The special summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations re-enforces Beijing's expanding role in the ASEAN region.

Though the China-ASEAN summit focuses on higher-end technology research including focus production on the COVID-19 vaccine, the strategic significance of the summit can't be undermined, reported Global Times.

The summit re-enforces China's engagement with the 10-member ASEAN countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The summit comes at a time when Beijing has expanded its economic role in the region as the ASEAN's data shows its trade volume with China was USD 684.6 billion in 2020.

China-ASEAN dialogue relations were established in 1991 after the end of the Cold War when Beijing started to expand its economic reach further in the South East Asian region.

The above was followed by Beijing's role as ASEAN's dialogue partners which had morphed into a strategic partnership by 200. The strategic partnership has now developed into a comprehensive strategic partnership as a part of the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-China dialogue.

Contours of the China-ASEAN Summit assumes more significance as United States Biden administration is viewing the South China Sea and the widen Indo-Pacific region with much strategic interest, the Global Times reported.

China's effort to engage firmly the ASEAN countries will signal Beijing's effort to engage with the regional multi-lateral organizations as a part of its expanding role in the international multi-lateral bodies, the Chinese publication said.

The above move will enhance Beijing's image as a credible international player by adhering to the international multilateral organization's agenda of developing peace and security through mutual and multi-lateral dialogues.

Further, it will negate Beijing's inability to co-operate with the multi-lateral organizations which was manifested during the South China Sea arbitration in 2016.

It's noted that China has competing claims in the South China Sea dispute despite its expanding economic role in the region.

The China-ASEAN summit comes after the virtual meeting held between United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held on November 15.

Earlier, weeks before that US President announced plans to provide up to USD 102 million to expand the US strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US President announced the need for the US to expand its role in the ASEAN as an overall approach to its Indo-Pacific.

"Our partnership is essential in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has been the foundation of our shared security and prosperity for many decades," Biden said"And the United States strongly supports the ASEAN outlook and the Indo-Pacific -- on the Indo-Pacific and the rules-based regional order," he added.

The US economic package includes USD 40 million that will supplant ASEAN countries effort to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen ASEAN's ability to prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Further, another USD 20.5 million will finance climate mitigation, and up to USD 20 million will support cooperation on trade and innovation. Another USD 17.5 million will supplant ASEAN countries' education projects and USD 4 million to promote gender equality and equity.

Earlier, the last US president to attend an ASEAN-US meeting was in 2017 when Donald Trump attended in Manila, Philippines when the contours of the Quadrilateral Security Initiative 2.0 were announced to strengthen Washington's interest in the wider Indo-Pacific region.

Though the Quad 2.0 was announced on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN summit the ASEAN countries have tried to maintain distance from the initiative and in that way has tried to balance the delicate relations between the US and ChinaThe divergent approach of the US and China in the ASEAN has assumed the role of the strategic competition after the formation of the Australia United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) and block's formation role has been expanded into the wider Indo-Pacific region much to Beijing's discomfort in the ASEAN region. (ANI)

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