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(November 13, 2020) US ties with Asia, SE Asia, Thailand

Under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden, the United States' relations with Asia broadly and with Southeast Asia and Thailand in particular are set to undergo a qualitative shift in tone and direction. At issue are to what extent Mr Biden will adopt the foreign policy outlook and orientation of former president Barack Obama in 2008-16 and whether he will retain some or reject most of the Asia policy legacy under the outgoing government of President Donald Trump.

For Asia policy under Mr Biden, all eyes will be on China. The Trump trade and technology war with Beijing amid an overarching "decoupling" strategy shook up the region and put pressure on partners and allies of both sides to choose between the two superpowers. US-China tensions were a boon for the rest of Asia. For example, some of the American companies that left China under Mr Trump's protectionist "America First" and "Make America Great Again" stance relocated to Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam. US bilateral sanctions against China's high-tech firms, such as Huawei, also hindered Beijing's ambitions to lead the world in next-generation technologies.