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.
His arrival comes against a backdrop of mutterings about Mr Biden's lack of focus on South-east Asia during his early months in power. There is disquiet in the air too about the growing hostility between Washington and Beijing and the future impact this may have on the region. So what might he say to reassure the doubters, while also laying out a comprehensive vision for America's future in Asia?