US-China relations: Guard rails and third rails

It is good that smaller states in South-east Asia aim to uphold high principles and work towards a rules-based regional order. These elements, however, are premised on continued stability in Sino-US relations, which is not guaranteed.

An advertisement for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force at a subway station in Beijing.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Caught in the Sino-American geopolitical scrum, smaller states in Asia, in particular South-east Asia, have sought to avoid making choices between the two powers.

The corollary of this, understandably, is the shared desire for stable US-China relations.

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