Speaking Of Asia

Here's how the US can win more friends in South-east Asia during the Covid-19 pandemic

In the geopolitical contest for influence, the pandemic offers America a chance to lend a hand to a stricken region, much like it did in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, garnering massive goodwill in its wake.

The US itself has announced that South-east Asia and East Asia will be the focus of its strategic attention in the years ahead.PHOTO: AFP

At last week's Apec leaders' informal summit arranged by current chair New Zealand to discuss the pandemic and related crises, Chinese President Xi Jinping quoted a Maori saying: Turn your face to the sun, and the shadow falls behind you.

It is an interesting metaphor for the times, more so since many people see China's rise as no less significant than that of a second sun entering the solar system. The next thing then, of course, is to ask: Which sun to look towards?

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