Friday, August 7, 2009

A new American attitude towards China and East Asia

The US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, the twice-yearly bilateral meeting on economic issues under the Bush administration, has been expanded into a broader Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The subjects covered in the dialogue included not just the US deficit and currencies but also climate change, nuclear proliferation and North Korea. And for the first time, the US secretary of state participated in the dialogue together with the treasury secretary.

In addition to the memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment, the meeting also set the tone for the future of the bilateral relationship. And with the tectonic shift in economic strength from the West to the East, Washington is also paying greater attention to the Far East.

The US also signed Asean's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

This is a noteworthy development and signifies the US' continued engagement in the region. What is even more significant is that Washington agreed to adhere to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states.TAC, formulated and adopted by Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in 1976, requires its signatories to settle inter-state disputes or conflicts peacefully and not to interfere with each other's internal affairs.

Other extra-regional powers that have signed the treaty include Australia, China, France, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

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