By Invitation

What does it mean to be America's partner?

The US defence chief's Fullerton speech next Tuesday is titled The Imperative Of Partnership. It raises questions about the expectations on both sides at a time of coronavirus-induced upheavals and rising US-China tensions.

The writer says that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is likely to discuss US plans to beef up military deterrence when he lands in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS
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US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin lands in Singapore next week, marking the first visit to South-east Asia by a member of President Joe Biden's Cabinet.

Mr Austin's regional swing, which also takes him to the Philippines and Vietnam, provides an opportunity to explain America's defence and security policy in a region still struggling both to recover from Covid-19 and to adapt to a new era of competition between the United States and China.

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