China using ‘cognitive warfare’ to intimidate Taiwan, says president Tsai

Throughout spring and early summer, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has worked hard to demonstrate that as war rages in Ukraine and Washington and NATO are becoming more focused on Russia that the White House is still also focused on the Indo-Pacific region — especially at a time when China is increasingly isolated and distrusted in parts of Asia.

And that all creates a number of opportunities for Washington to exploit.

Until more recently, Biden had not made many calls to Southeast Asian leaders and was also slow to appoint ambassadors to several Asian countries, including the sending of an envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, angering some governments in the region.

In May, the American president held a U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Washington, which had been delayed from March because of the Ukraine war. The summit resulted in new plans to accelerate digital development in Southeast Asia, address climate change in the region and expand maritime cooperation in the hope of eventually developing a U.S.-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership. The summit also provided the Southeast Asian leaders who attended a chance for face time with Biden at the White House.

The administration complemented that summit with a range of visits by senior officials to the region, including a visit by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to countries such as South Korea, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines. In the latter, she met with incoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., seemingly in an attempt to woo a man who had already expressed a desire for stronger ties with China and whose family has a checkered history with the United States, to say the least.

Washington has also launched an expanded version of military exercises with Indonesia and other countries that include many more Asian nations than in the past, and Biden traveled to Tokyo for a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as well as a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.


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