Li Mingjiang
Li Mingjiang
Li Mingjiang is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

As befits a major power in Southeast Asia, China should take the initiative to put into practice what it has repeatedly pledged – use its land features in the contested regional waters to tackle non-traditional security challenges, alongside its Asean partners.

American calls for dealing with China ‘from a position of strength’ have drawn outrage from Beijing, but what does it actually mean? A close examination shows how misunderstanding can thwart efforts to bring the two sides together.

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The Asean-China naval exercise highlights the warming of relations as the Belt and Road Initiative makes inroads but does not imply that Asean is leaning towards China and away from the US.