Washington’s risk-prone urge to deepen military alliances, juxtaposed with Chinese adventurism, threatens peace in Asia

Posted BY: | NwoReport

The ASEAN leaders’ summit in the picturesque seaside town of Labuan Bajo in Indonesia concluded this week with the crisis in Myanmar being a core focus of the talks.

Myanmar’s brutal civil war is indeed the biggest challenge the otherwise highly successful regional grouping has faced since the late 1990s financial crisis in the region. ASEAN has thus far struggled to rein in the junta’s harsh crackdown, and the pre-summit attack in Shan state on the grouping’s humanitarian aid workers didn’t help matters.

The ASEAN summit also called for the “exercise [of] self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability” in the South China Sea, a clear reference to China’s aggressive actions in pursuing its excessive maritime claims. However, recent developments in the U.S.-Philippines alliance are also complicating and escalating the security dynamic in the region. There are troubling signs that the United States has effectively inducted the Philippines into its strategy of China encirclement.

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The latest bilateral defense guidelines issued by the Pentagon in the wake of President Marcos Jr’s recent visit to Washington reiterated the February 2023 invocation of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) — the agreement that governs the U.S.-Philippines alliance — in case of “an armed attack in the Pacific, to include anywhere in the South China Sea, on either Philippine or U.S. armed forces – which includes both nations’ Coast Guards – aircraft, or public vessels.” 

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