Asia nations are coming together to assert their independence “from the pernicious influence of US imperialism,” says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.
“The heyday of the US hegemonists is fading and a new world is dawning,” Etler told Press TV in an interview on Monday.
Speaking on Monday in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien accused Beijing of “intimidation” in the South China Sea during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
O’Brien also conveyed an invitation from US President Donald Trump for the ASEAN leaders to attend a special summit in the United States.
“Beijing has used intimidation to try to stop ASEAN nations from exploiting the off-shore resources, blocking access to 2.5 trillion dollars of oil and gas reserve alone,” O’Brien said.
Commenting on this Professor Etler said, “Two significant events have recently occurred during the ASEAN meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea moved ahead according to the previously agreed-upon timetable and negotiations for the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement are nearing completion.”
“These two initiatives between China, ASEAN, and other regional powers will demonstrate once and for all that Asia is a force to be reckoned with. Combined with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) led by Russia, Asia is well on its way to becoming a fully integrated economic heavyweight. The days of US unilateralism and hegemony in Asia are numbered,” he stated.
“This, of course, has raised hackles in Washington which sees its influence in the Asian Pacific and other regions of Asia waning and China’s influence rising. In response, the US is attempting rear-guard actions to sabotage these various initiatives in an attempt to scuttle them. In doing so the US is relying on forces within the region that it hopes will do its bidding,” he added.
“Both Vietnam and India have grievances with their neighbors that the US hopes to exploit. The COC and the RCEP are however meant to help resolve trade and territorial disputes between their members to the advantage of all. This, however, runs counter to the US desire to fragment the nations of South and Southeast Asia in order to alienate them from China which Washington sees as a rival whose rise must be thwarted. Washington’s hopes will, however, be dashed as they go against the march of history,” he noted.
“China does not seek hegemony. It wants to work with its neighbors in a mutually beneficial fashion. The negotiations for both the COC and the RCEP have been long and detailed and the concerns of all parties have been addressed. It is now time to move them to completion. Resistance from Vietnam and India has intensified, however, as the deadline for approval of the two accords approach. India, for one, has officially withdrawn from the RCEP as per PM Modi’s recent announcement and Vietnam insists on accusing China of infringing on its territorial rights in the South China Sea,” he said.
“The US has stepped into the fray in order to exacerbate tensions, pit one nation against another and fish in troubled waters. This effort on its part runs counter to the trend of the times. The nations of Asia, with China as its core, are coming together to assert their independence from the vestiges of Western colonialism and the pernicious influence of US imperialism. No matter their bellowing and braying, the heyday of the US hegemonists is fading and a new world is dawning,” he observed.
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