Washington should respect position of SE Asian countries of taking no sides between US and China: SSILR
Published: Jul 27, 2022 11:45 PM
The Mekong River section in Laos Photo: Xinhua
The Mekong River section in Laos Photo: Xinhua

Instead of excluding each other, the US and China, as the world's two largest economies, should promote cooperation in many areas which could bring win-win development for them and other countries and regions, experts said at a webinar jointly held by the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) and the South Asia & Southeast Asia International Logistics Research Institute (SSILR) on Wednesday.

China and the US should not exclude each other, said Liu Jinxin, president of SSILR, at the webinar, suggesting the two could seek cooperation in many areas such as removing the hazards of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) left behind in Laos, Vietnam and other countries during World War II.

Global and regional peace and stability depend on the pragmatic cooperation between China and the US rather than the unnecessary ideological debate, Liu said.

Since US President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, senior officials from Washington have been lining up to visit Southeast Asia. Attempting to drive a wedge between China and Southeast Asian country has been widely viewed by observers as one of their major tasks during the trips.

The US "should respect the position of all the countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) of not taking sides and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the countries in this region," Liu said.

China and the ASEAN bloc have become each other's largest trading partner, with great growth potential after the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership came into effect in the beginning of the year.

As regional partners, China and the Southeast Asian countries have been pursuing cooperation through various approaches.

China has provided more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Mekong countries and established nearly 150 pairs of sister provinces and cities with the five countries, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference on July 5.

GMS includes six Asian countries along the Mekong River: China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.