Xinhua reported that, according to several foreign affairs documents, the U.S. proposed to establish a new cooperative framework with four Mekong River Basin countries, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will discuss this proposal with the foreign ministers of those countries at the ASEAN meeting in Thailand. The U.S. will also sign ASEAN’s base treaty, “Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.” All these indicate the Obama administration desires to strengthen the U.S. relationship with ASEAN, and recover the loss of influence to China over ASEAN during the Bush administration.
Xinhua quoted a Singapore researcher, “U.S. adjusts its ASEAN policy, to better ‘deal’ with Myanmar and North Korea, and also to deter other large countries (China – Ed) from increasing influence in this region.”
Source: Xinhua, July 21, 2009