By Invitation

South-east Asia and Taiwan: No time to duck and cover

A conflict in the Taiwan Strait will have profound implications on US allies and partners in South-east Asia, all of which have typically argued that they do not need to 'make choices' between China and the United States.

For many South-east Asian countries, the instinct would be to stay out of the fight, using the oft-used line that the issue of Taiwan is an internal matter for China. PHOTO: AFP
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South-east Asian countries are starting to wake up to the possibility of a war in the Taiwan Strait. Earlier this month, Asean foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh issued the grouping's first-ever statement on the issue, expressing concern about "regional volatility" and "potential miscalculation", and calling for "maximum restraint". The statement on "Cross Strait Development" was a first, given that cross-straits issues had never been discussed within Asean.

Speaking to Bloomberg on Aug 15, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said that China and the US could "sleepwalk into conflict", given rising tensions between the two countries.

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