US gains ground, Asean falters in South-east Asia poll

ISEAS’ State of South-east Asia Survey 2022 raises questions as to how long Asean can afford to operate in a sub-optimal fashion before it loses relevance amid intensifying great power competition in the region.

Asean is seen as too slow and ineffective to cope with rapid developments. PHOTO: REUTERS
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The United States is gaining significant ground against China in the battle to win friends and influence countries, with respondents across South-east Asia confident that Washington would be able to lead on issues such as championing free trade and upholding the rules-based regional order.

The fresh reading from The State Of Southeast Asia 2022: Survey Report also showed that pressing issues - the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment and economic retraction as well as climate change - continue to be prioritised by respondents. In their view, however, Asean is seen as too slow and ineffective to cope with rapid developments.

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