Following the lead of its ASEAN partners, the US has replaced tough talk about China with calls for cooperation. At stake is a share of the booming trade supplying a rising consumer class in Southeast Asia.
Concerned that the United States is missing out on the boom in trade serving a burgeoning consumer middle class across much of Southeast Asia, the Obama administration is busy fine-tuning its famous “pivot to Asia.”
Out is the administration’s focus of recent years on security issues, with its emphasis on a rising China and on letting China’s neighbors know that the US intends to remain a Pacific military power ready to counter any country’s aggressive actions in the region.
Speaking Tuesday in Hanoi – which she lauded as “a pretty cool place” (perhaps playing with words and subtly referencing Washington’s recent record-breaking heat) – Secretary Clinton chose to underscore “the breadth of our engagement” in the Asia Pacific.