Comparative Connections v.17 n.1 - US-Southeast Asia
May 15, 2015
Several senior US officials visited Southeast Asia, all emphasizing ASEAN’s importance for the US rebalance policy. The US is building a rotational force deployment capacity in the region along with military assistance to allies and partners, especially for increasing their maritime security capabilities. Washington has also emphasized Vietnam’s importance to the rebalance, currently concentrating on improving coast guard relations. The Indonesian Navy has shown interest in more naval exercises with the US around Natuna. Problems persist in US-Thai relations as the military consolidates its rule. Although the annual Cobra Gold exercise took place in February, Washington scaled back US participation and significantly reduced the kinetic component. Planning for next year’s exercise is in limbo. Finally, Japan and India have shown support for maritime security buildups and an enhanced naval presence in the South China Sea.