US-Southeast Asia Relations: Full Court Press

Sheldon W. Simon
Content Type
Journal Article
Comparative Connections
Issue Number
Publication Date
4th Quarter
Center for Strategic and International Studies
High -level visits to Southeast Asia this quarter found President Obama in Indonesia to inaugurate a Comprehensive Partnership, Secretary of Defense Gates in Malaysia and Vietnam, and Secretary of State Clinton in several Southeast Asian states, a trip that was highlighted by her acceptance of US membership in the East Asian Summit and attendance at the Lower Mekong Initiative meeting. Obama praised Jakarta‟s democratic politics and insisted that the multifaceted relations with Jakarta demonstrate that Washington is concerned with much more than counterterrorism in its relations with the Muslim world. In Vietnam, both Clinton and Gates reiterated the US position from the July ASEAN Regional Forum that the South China Sea disputes be resolved peacefully through multilateral diplomacy led by ASEAN. Clinton expressed Washington‟s appreciation that China had entered discussions with ASEAN on formalizing a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. In all her Southeast Asian stops, she e mphasized the importance of human rights. While deploring the faulty election in Burma, the US welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi‟s release from house arrest and the prospect for more openness in Burmese politics.
Political Geography
United States, Indonesia, Southeast Asia