US needs to up its game in South-east Asia

Visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (left) and Philippine military chief Cirilito Sobejana exchanging greetings at Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Philippine armed forces.PHOTO: AFP

United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin's visit to South-east Asia came at a critical juncture in a most vital region. The stakes could not be any higher, given lingering concerns over American commitment to a region which has been at the centre of great power rivalry in the past decade.

As Mr Kurt Campbell, the Indo-Pacific czar in Washington, said earlier this month: "For an effective Asia strategy, for an effective Indo-Pacific approach, you must do more in South-east Asia."

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