All national papers except Nikkei spotlighted a foreign policy speech delivered by Secretary of State Blinken in Jakarta on Tuesday. He reportedly vowed to deepen diplomatic, military, and intelligence cooperation with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s unilateral attempts to alter the status quo. He reportedly underscored the importance of promoting “integrated deterrence” to ensure that the region remains “free and open.” The top U.S. diplomat also reportedly referred to Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand as allies with whom Washington plans to strengthen cooperation and coordination on the security and economic fronts. “Those bonds have long provided the foundation for peace, security, and prosperity in the region. We’ll foster greater cooperation among these allies. That’s one of the things we’ve done by …. launching a historic new security cooperation agreement with Australia and the UK,” the Secretary was quoted as saying.
Asahi and Sankei said the Biden administration is extremely keen to expand partnerships with ASEAN countries based on the assessment that they occupy a key geostrategic position in pushing back against China. Noting that the Secretary plans to visit Malaysia and Thailand after Indonesia, the papers said the three countries are ASEAN members that neither Secretary Austin nor Vice President Harris visited when they traveled to the region in the summer.