By: Emerson Lim
This is because the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is "paralyzed" by U.S.-China competition due to the very few options left for them, said Jay Batongbacal, director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law at the University of the Philippines, via video conferencing during a panel discussion titled "South China Sea: Theater of Power Rivalry."
The panel discussion was part of the two-day Ketagalan Forum — 2020 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue, which also tackled the issues relating to the security situation across the Taiwan Strait, global public health cooperation and economic security after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Batongbacal named Taiwan, Japan, Australia and India as some of those middle powers that could generate options for Southeast Asian countries to choose from, rather than having to accept positions of either one of the superpowers. [FULL STORY]