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U.S., Japan to urge ASEAN to join coalition to reinforce supply chains

  • April 1, 2022
  • , Nikkei
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Nikkei reported that the United States and Japan are set to call for ASEAN to participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF) that the Biden administration is pursuing to build resilient supply chains for semiconductors and other strategic materials, saying that the two governments are coordinating to draft language for the initiative to encourage the participation of those ASEAN members who are concerned that the forum is intended to contain China. In order to not provoke China, the two governments plan to use such wording as “establishing a mechanism to prevent supply shortages” and “bolstering production lines, assuring supplies of goods, and securing employment at home by ensuring the smooth functioning of international supply chains.” While noting that the IPEF is not simply an economic framework, as evidenced by the proposed language saying “economic and foreign policy interests in this region are closely intertwined,” the paper wrote that Washington and Tokyo are hoping to enlist South Korea, in addition to ASEAN, with the goals of not only promoting market liberalization and open digital trade but reinforcing economic security through reducing dependence on China. The article added that Washington is eager to see the early reconciliation of Japan and South Korea since a strong partnership between the three countries, plus ASEAN and Taiwan, can serve as a bulwark against China’s quest for economic, technological, and military hegemony.

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