US courts ASEAN, but bloc wary of another half-hearted ‘pivot’

State Department No. 2 tours region, playing catch up to China

Months after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the U.S. is finally turning its diplomatic focus to Southeast Asia to counter rising Chinese clout there.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman became the first senior State Department official in the Biden administration to visit members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week.

Sherman met with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Bangkok on Wednesday, where she announced $30 million in coronavirus assistance to Thailand.

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