Will S-E Asia have to choose between US and China?

From left: Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, US Vice-President Mike Pence, Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad and China Premier Li Keqiang at the 13th East Asia Summit in Singapore this month.
From left: Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, US Vice-President Mike Pence, Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad and China Premier Li Keqiang at the 13th East Asia Summit in Singapore this month.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

WASHINGTON • As the US-China rivalry intensifies, the talk here is beginning to turn to whether Southeast Asian countries and Asean should choose between the two powers, with foreign policy watchers warning that the regional grouping may become less relevant if it continues to sit on the fence.

There are signs that the US is already making its allies choose.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 25, 2018, with the headline 'Will S-E Asia have to choose between US and China?'. Subscribe