Sat, 25 Jun 2022

ISLAMABAD, May 15 (Xinhua) -- In the just-concluded U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, U.S. President Joe Biden said that "the ASEAN centrality is the very heart of my administration's strategy in pursuing the future we all want to see. And I mean that sincerely."

Despite the warm words, Washington's sincerity is questionable. America has long used cooperation as a cover to pursue its hegemonic goals, including containing a rising China by forming cliques in the Asia-Pacific region.

The summit's significance lies in its timing. "It is being held as war rages in Ukraine, demonstrating that the United States has not lost its focus on the Indo-Pacific," a recent article from Foreign Affairs magazine said, adding, "Biden seeks to better position his country in the wider geopolitical competition with China."

In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. administration's unilateral pursuit of its own interests has severely undermined global peace and security, resulting in a dire humanitarian crisis and stoking international security concerns.

Washington has once again ignored the security demands of other countries.

When Biden claimed at the summit that his administration is "pursuing the future we all want to see," the audience quickly understood the hidden meaning: "pursuing the future only Washington wants to see."

No wonder most of the 10-member bloc abstained from voting in favor of a resolution to suspend Russia's membership from the United Nations Human Rights Council last month. Malaysia and Indonesia have also voiced concerns over the AUKUS trilateral security partnership involving Australia and Britain.

In addition, as the United States scrambles to fix a sluggish economy and quell rampant social disorder amid COVID-19, its capability to fulfill its promises to other countries has also come under question.

As long as the United States maintains its hegemonic nature, its words and deeds in Southeast Asia will not bring peace and serenity to the region.

For the sake of regional peace, stability, development and prosperity, ASEAN countries, which are currently focused on a post-pandemic economic recovery, are expected to stand united against American interference. Experts have suggested the members send a signal to the United States that ASEAN would remain neutral under any circumstance.

In this case, Washington's attempt to court support among ASEAN countries in pursuit of its geopolitical interests is unlikely to gain traction. It is high time the United States took a more constructive and inclusive approach to cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

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