Southeast Asia worried about choosing sides as China-U.S. rivalry intensifies – RTÉ World Report

Vietnam's Defense Min. Ngo Van Lich and Philippine Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana at the Shangrila Dialogue in SIngapore on June 2 2019 (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — “We do not want to choose between the United States and China.” So said Malaysia’s Deputy Defense Minister Chin Tong Liew during a speech last week on his country’s relations with China. Earlier this month the U.S. Secretary of Defence and his Chinese counterpart told a conference of defence ministers in Singapore that they do not expect other countries to takes sides. But many in Southeast Asia fear this is a choice they will have to make, given the increasingly-acrimonious Chinese-American rivalry.