Central Thailand, Feb. 9, 2015: officers from 24 countries at the opening ceremony for the yearly Cobra Gold multilateral military exercises, the largest drills of the kind in Southeast Asia (photo: dpa)

An American perspective on intersecting interests in the Asia-Pacific

The Asia Pacific region can be geopolitically conceived as three intersecting circles of national interests. Circle one comprises the United States and its treaty allies – Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. Circle two contains the countries in the region most closely aligned with the People’s Republic of China – North Korea, its sole treaty relationship in the region; Cambodia, Burma and Laos. Circle three encompasses the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Burma and Cambodia.



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 Walter Lohman
The distinguishing interests of the US circle is defence of the current rule-based order, which could be defined as liberal economic regimes, liberal political values, and the territorial status quo
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