China must respond to Western reactions to Russia’s war in Ukraine: a former diplomat

A former Singaporean diplomat told CNBC on Friday that China should take into account the West’s strong response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in its Taiwan calculations.

“I hope that the major powers in our region, and China in particular, have done so,” he added Take note of the unified and very strong Western response and [China] He will take this into account with respect to Taiwan, the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands street signs asia.

China claims that Autonomous Taiwan is part of its territory, although the island has been under independent rule from China since 1949.

Beijing also has a number of territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea, including with Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China also claims the Senkaku Islands – known on the mainland as the Diaoyu Islands – which are under Japanese control.

The former diplomat was speaking in context President Joe Biden’s meeting with Southeast Asian leaders which concludes on Friday.

Southeast Asian countries are not tools of the West, and relations with the United States serve as a counterpoint to relations with China, a senior Singaporean diplomat said as ASEAN leaders, who are seen here in the White House by US President Joe Biden, are having a private meeting. Summit with the United States (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Speaking about the two-day special summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington, D.C., Kosekan said the meeting was evidence of a “return to normal” for US diplomacy after Trump’s “rolly years”.

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“Trump was a bit of an aberration because the United States has been pretty consistent in engaging Southeast Asia for many decades,” said Kosikan, who is now president of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore.

It also ruled out suggestions that ASEAN It is a “tool of the West” in its competition with China.

“We are no one’s tools.” He said, referring to the Southeast Asian bloc made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“We view China as a means of managing relations with the United States and Europe, and we view Europe and the United States as a means of managing our relationship with China,” he said, noting that Southeast Asia has been an arena for the major power. competition for centuries.

I think this is a fantasy. Nobody can separate from China, not even the United States.

Bilhari Kosikan

Former diplomat in Singapore

He said the timing of the ASEAN summit – where the US trade framework is among the topics expected to be discussed – also proves that the US is not distracted from its focus on the Indo-Pacific.

“Trade is a very sensitive issue in US domestic politics, and ASEAN leaders understand that,” he said. “Trade strategy in our region.”

The separation between the United States and China

On the rivalry between the United States and China, Koseikan said it was not realistic to expect the West to “separate” from China, a term that refers to the gradual severing of economic and trade ties between China and the West.

The US and Europe are currently trying to reorient their supply chains to reduce their dependence on Chinese manufacturing.

“I think this is a fantasy. Nobody can separate from China, not even the United States,” he said, adding that “partial separation” in areas with national security implications might be possible.

The head of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arsjad Rasjid, told CNBC Squawk Box Asia that Indonesia and other ASEAN countries do not want to have to choose a side.

“We want to be friends with the United States, we want to be friends with China,” Rashid said.

He also acknowledged that “the United States is missing out on action,” and said the summit represented a new beginning.

On Southeast Asian countries having to choose a side, Kosykan said: “I don’t think any of the ASEAN countries see a simplistic binary option between the United States and China. There is no reason why we can’t have good political relations. Not just economic relations.”

Kosikan said there is a growing realization that close ties with China will “endanger its autonomy” unless accompanied by close ties with the United States.

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