JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Southeast Asian nations should avoid becoming “chess pieces”, China’s foreign minister said Monday, as he revealed proposing a set of “rules” to promote positive interactions between Beijing and Washington at a recent meeting.
Wang Yi held five hours of talks on Saturday, July 9, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken – their first since October – on the Indonesian island of Bali after the pair attended a Group of 20 gathering the day before.
Both sides later portrayed the talks as an attempt to improve ties prevent bilateral tensions from spiraling out of control.
Years of rising tensions between the two have alarmed regional neighbors, something Wang recognized in speech at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, representing 10 Southeast Asian nations.
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“At the moment many countries in the region, including in the ASEAN region are under pressure to take sides,” Wang said.
“We should insulate this region from geopolitical calculations and the trap of the law of the jungle, from being used as chess pieces in major power rivalries,” he added.
Wang also gave further details of his talks with Blinken, including measures to tame tensions.
“I told the US side very solemnly that our two sides should consider discussing the establishment of rules for positive interactions in the Asia Pacific and to uphold jointly open regionalism,” Wang said, without elaborating on what these rules would be.