US bid to drive wedge between China, ASEAN futile: China Daily editorial
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up a fruitful Southeast Asia tour last week, which took him to Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore. Just before these visits, he also held talks with Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, special envoy of the Indonesian president, and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin in Southwest China's Yunnan province.
Clearly, Wang's intensive diplomacy, which covered seven members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will further enhance China's ties with these countries and the 10-member bloc at large in light of the unprecedented global challenge of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and the shared aspiration of countries in the region for peace and stability.
The global health crisis has drawn China and ASEAN countries even closer as China has actively sought strengthened anti-pandemic cooperation through bilateral and multilateral platforms. The two sides' concerted efforts to combat the novel coronavirus and safeguard people's health and livelihoods have opened new horizons for their overall cooperation.
Despite the attempts of the US administration to drive a wedge between ASEAN and China, ASEAN countries are working even more closely with China in trade and various fields. This year, for the first time ASEAN has overtaken the European Union to be China's biggest trading partner.
As Wang rightfully pointed out last week, China-ASEAN economic cooperation is not only strong, it also has great potential. ASEAN countries are obviously best positioned to benefit from China's new "dual circulation" development paradigm, in which domestic and overseas markets complement and reinforce each other.
In stark contrast to what China has done for regional cooperation, the US administration's meddling in regional affairs has become a destabilizing factor for regional development.
Not only have the frequent patrols of US warships and military aircraft in the South China Sea militarized the waters and ratcheted up tensions, the US is also peddling an Indo-Pacific strategy, a product of its old-fashioned Cold War mentality, to stoke geopolitical competition and force countries in the region to take sides.
But countries in the region know that the real intention behind the US' Indo-Pacific strategy is to maintain its dominance and hegemonic system in the region, which not only undermines peace and development prospects in the region but also weakens and even impairs ASEAN's leading role in regional affairs.
Wang's visits helped send a strong message that China and ASEAN countries will not be hindered or deterred from deepening their cooperation in the post-pandemic era, and that China-ASEAN friendship will continue to serve as a cornerstone of regional peace and stability.