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Southeast Asia does not want to choose — but it may not have to

22nd February 2021 - 23:25 GMT | by The Geobukseon in Indo-Pacific

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Security from the US and commerce with China. Southeast Asia wants to have it both ways, but can it?

In Southeast Asian capitals it is commonly said: ‘We don’t want to choose between the US and China. We want to do business with China but have the Americans provide security.’

Who wouldn’t?

The problem, of course, with all such ‘good deals’ is that they cannot last forever. And this one too may be nearing its expiration date.

How much security can the US actually provide? Not as much as it used to.

The USN has about 300 ships to cover the globe, and it is growing only slowly. Meanwhile, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has about 360 ships. …

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