SINGAPORE — Lloyd J. Austin III, the American defense secretary, sought on Tuesday to reassure Southeast Asian nations that the United States was still invested in the region despite a monthslong absence by top officials in a part of the world that has been aggressively courted by China.
新加坡——週二,美國國防部長勞埃德·J·奧斯汀三世(Lloyd J. Austin III)試圖向東南亞國家保證,儘管美國高級官員在該地區已經缺席數月,但美國仍將投資這個被中國一直積極追求的地方。
Speaking at a lecture in Singapore organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank, Mr. Austin said, “I’ve come to Southeast Asia to deepen America’s bonds with the allies and partners on whom our common security depends.”
在新加坡由英國智庫國際戰略研究所(International Institute for Strategic Studies)組織的一次演講中,奧斯汀說,「我來到東南亞,是為了加深美國與盟友和夥伴的關係,我們的共同安全依賴於他們。」
Mr. Austin’s visit is the first by a U.S. cabinet member to Southeast Asia since President Biden took office in January.
奧斯汀的訪問是拜登總統1月就任以來,美國內閣成員首次訪問東南亞。
In Washington, there is a growing awareness that China has been cultivating Southeast Asia with visits, loans and, most recently, coronavirus vaccines.
在華盛頓,人們越來越意識到,中國一直在通過訪問、貸款以及最近的提供新冠病毒疫苗等方式培養與東南亞的關係。
廣告
China has doled out more than 190 million vaccines in Southeast Asia, most of them sold, according to a calculation of figures provided by Bridge Consulting, a Beijing-based research company.
根據北京研究公司播銳智諮詢提供的數據計算,中國已經在東南亞發放了超過1.9億支疫苗,其中大部分是售出的。
During his lecture, Mr. Austin pointed out that the United States had donated roughly 40 million doses in the past two months to the region free and with “no strings attached.”
奧斯汀在演講中指出,美國在過去兩個月裡免費向該地區捐贈了大約4000萬劑疫苗,「沒有任何附加條件」。
Murray Hiebert, a senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “Part of the effort here is to let the region know that the U.S. still sees it as very important — that it’s not going to lie down and let China roll over the region.”
戰略與國際研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)東南亞項目(Southeast Asia Program)高級助理穆雷·希伯特(Murray Hiebert)表示:「我們的部分努力是為了讓該地區知道,美國仍然看重它——美國不會躺倒,任憑中國席捲該地區。」
“And so it’s really an attempt to play catch up after a slow start,” he added.
他還說:「所以我們實際是在緩慢起步之後試圖迎頭趕上。」
今年3月,美國國務卿安東尼·J·布林肯(左)與日本首相菅義偉在東京會面。布林肯不訪問東南亞的決定被一些人視為一種冷落。
今年3月,美國國務卿安東尼·J·布林肯(左)與日本首相菅義偉在東京會面。布林肯不訪問東南亞的決定被一些人視為一種冷落。 Pool photo by Eugene Hoshiko
American officials have indicated that there will be renewed interest in the region, given Mr. Biden’s focus on Asia as a linchpin of his foreign policy agenda. Analysts say there could be a flurry of diplomatic efforts in the months ahead. Mr. Austin is also set to travel to the Philippines and Vietnam on his trip.
美國官員表示,鑒於拜登將亞洲作為其外交政策議程的關鍵,人們將重新對該地區產生興趣。分析人士說,未來幾個月可能會有一系列外交努力。奧斯汀此行還將訪問菲律賓和越南。
In recent months, several Southeast Asian officials have been perturbed by the lack of face-to-face engagement from their American counterparts, particularly in light of China’s ramping up its diplomatic efforts in the pandemic. (Mr. Austin was scheduled to appear in Singapore at a regional defense meeting in June, but organizers had to cancel at the last minute because of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city-state.)
近幾個月來,一些東南亞官員對與美國官員缺乏面對面接觸感到不安,尤其是在中國於疫情期間加大外交努力的情況下。(奧斯汀原定於6月在新加坡出席一個區域防務會議,但由於這個城市國家的新冠病例激增,組織者不得不在最後一刻取消了會議。)
廣告
Several Southeast Asian analysts viewed Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s decision to visit Japan, India and South Korea, but not Southeast Asia, as a snub.
幾位東南亞分析人士認為,美國國務卿安東尼·J·布林肯(Antony J. Blinken)決定訪問日本、印度和韓國,而不是東南亞,是在冷落該地區。
“It seemed to reinforce the perception that Southeast Asia has always been paid lip service: that this is an important region to the Indo-Pacific, but it is, in practice, still being treated as an afterthought,” said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.
「這似乎強化了一種看法,即對東南亞一直都是口頭上的承諾:這是印度-太平洋地區的一個重要地區,但實際上,它仍然被視為一個事後才考慮的地區,」新加坡國防與戰略研究所(Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies)研究員許瑞麟(Collin Koh)說。
Mr. Blinken tried to hold a video conference with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in May. But the ministers were kept facing a blank screen for 45 minutes because of a technical glitch. The meeting had to be postponed and rescheduled for earlier this month.
今年5月,布林肯曾試圖與東南亞國家聯盟(Association of Southeast Asian Nations,簡稱東盟[ASEAN])舉行影片會議。但由於技術故障,部長們面對空白螢幕長達45分鐘。會議不得不推遲,並重新安排在本月初。
週一,印度尼西亞雅加達的一個疫苗接種項目。北京方面已開始努力在東南亞擴大其影響力,包括提供疫苗。
週一,印度尼西亞雅加達的一個疫苗接種項目。北京方面已開始努力在東南亞擴大其影響力,包括提供疫苗。 Willy Kurniawan/Reuters
For the past decade, Beijing has engaged in a massive push to extend its political and economic influence across Southeast Asia. China is now the region’s most important trading partner. Since January 2020, senior officials, including Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, have traveled to the region at least five times.
在過去十年裡,北京大力推動在東南亞地區擴大其政治和經濟影響力。中國現在是該地區最重要的貿易夥伴。自2020年1月以來,包括中國最高領導人習近平在內的高級官員至少五次訪問該地區。
The United States has failed to introduce any large economic projects in Southeast Asia after the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was nixed by former President Donald J. Trump. It has also excluded itself from one of the world’s biggest trade pacts, proposed by Southeast Asia: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which China has enthusiastically embraced.
在前總統唐納德·J·川普(Donald J. Trump)否決《跨太平洋夥伴關係協定》(Trans-Pacific Partnership)後,美國未能在東南亞引入任何大型經濟項目。它還將自己排除在東南亞提議的全球最大貿易協定之一——《區域全面經濟夥伴關係協定》(Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership)之外,而中國則熱情地接受了該協定。
On his most recent visit to Southeast Asia in January, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, arrived in Indonesia with a planeload of vaccines. He offered to help build a high-speed railway linking Jakarta, the capital, and the neighboring city of Bandung, under China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
中國外交部長王毅最近一次訪問東南亞是在今年1月,他帶著一架滿載疫苗的飛機抵達印度尼西亞。在中國雄心勃勃的「一帶一路」倡議下,他提出幫助印尼修建連接首都雅加達和鄰近城市萬隆的高速鐵路。
廣告
William Choong, a senior fellow specializing in the Indo-Pacific at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a research center based in Singapore, said, “They consider Southeast Asia to be an important peripheral region to China, so they have played a long game.”
新加坡研究中心東南亞尤索夫伊薩研究所(ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)印度太平洋研究高級研究員鍾偉倫(William Choong)說,「他們認為東南亞是中國的一個重要外圍地區,所以他們打了一場持久戰。」
“And they’ve upgraded their relationship with ASEAN to a new level,” he added.
他補充道:「他們已經把與東盟的關係提升到一個新的水平。」
Southeast Asia is home to one of the world’s most strategic waterways, the Strait of Malacca. The region also includes the many contested reefs and shoals of the South China Sea, a major pressure point between Beijing and several Southeast Asian countries. Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have all accused China of military incursions in the area.
東南亞擁有世界上最具戰略意義的水道之一——馬六甲海峽。該地區還包括南海許多有爭議的暗礁和淺灘,這是北京和幾個東南亞國家之間的一個主要壓力來源。馬來西亞、菲律賓和越南都曾指責中國在該地區進行軍事入侵。
一位菲律賓漁民今年在南海。該地區是北京和幾個東南亞國家之間的一個主要壓力點。
一位菲律賓漁民今年在南海。該地區是北京和幾個東南亞國家之間的一個主要壓力點。 Jes Aznar for The New York Times
Some leaders are trying to pursue a delicate balancing act between China and the United States, wary of Beijing’s intentions in the region, yet mindful of their economic interdependence. Many of them say that they cannot afford to adopt Mr. Biden’s anti-China stance, but still look to the United States to support them in their disputes with Beijing.
一些領導人試圖在中美之間尋求微妙的平衡,既警惕北京在該地區的意圖,又注重他們在經濟上的相互依賴。他們中的許多人表示不能採取拜登的反中國立場,但仍希望美國在他們與北京的爭端中支持他們。
Mr. Austin said Washington was “not asking countries in the region to choose between the United States and China.” He said that the United States was not seeking confrontation with China, but stressed, “We want to make sure we deter conflict in every case and every opportunity.”
奧斯汀說,華盛頓「並不是要求該地區的國家在美國和中國之間做出選擇」。他說,美國並不尋求與中國對抗,但強調,「我們希望確保在任何情況和機會下都能阻止衝突。」
Going forward, a major challenge for American officials will be curbing Chinese influence in the region, especially in countries like Philippines, a treaty ally with which China has made significant progress in recent years.
展望未來,美國官員面臨的一個主要挑戰將是遏制中國在該地區的影響力,尤其是在菲律賓等國家。菲律賓是美國的條約盟友,近年來與中國的關係取得了重大進展。
廣告
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has rarely criticized China for its expansionism in the South China Sea. On Monday, during his State of the Nation address, he called himself a “good friend of President Xi.”
菲律賓總統羅德里戈·杜特蒂(Rodrigo Duterte)很少批評中國在南海的擴張主義。週一,在他的國情咨文演講中,他稱自己是「習主席的好朋友」。
“When the pandemic struck, the first country I called for help was China,” Mr. Duterte said. He recalled how he had told Mr. Xi that the Philippines had no vaccines and was unable to develop one. Mr. Xi responded by sending 1.5 million doses, he said.
「疫情暴發時,我第一個求助的國家是中國,」杜特蒂說。他記得自己曾告訴習近平,菲律賓沒有疫苗,也無法研製出疫苗。他說,習近平的回應是發來了150萬劑疫苗。
2019年,中國國家主席習近平與菲律賓總統羅德里戈·杜特蒂在北京。杜特蒂稱自己是習近平的「好朋友」。
2019年,中國國家主席習近平與菲律賓總統羅德里戈·杜特蒂在北京。杜特蒂稱自己是習近平的「好朋友」。 Pool photo by Greg Baker
“You cannot repay that with money, but I have a debt of gratitude,” Mr. Duterte said. “You can be sure I will be your friend. A true friend and die for you.”
「你無法用金錢來償還,但我有一份感激之情,」杜特蒂說。「你可以相信我是你的朋友。一個真正的朋友,會為你而死。」
On Monday, Mr. Duterte implied that he did not see the United States as a reliable partner in defending the Philippines.
週一,杜特蒂暗示,他不認為美國是捍衛菲律賓的可靠夥伴。
Mr. Austin said on Tuesday that he planned to discuss extending the longstanding military pact between the Philippines and United States during his coming visit. The pact, which allows Washington to move troops and equipment in and out of the country, is now in limbo.
奧斯汀週二表示,他計劃在即將到來的訪問中討論延長菲律賓和美國之間的長期軍事協議。該協議允許華盛頓將軍隊和裝備運進或運出菲律賓,但目前該協議仍處於懸而未決的狀態。
Mr. Duterte previously sought to end the treaty, but reversed himself last year, saying he would maintain it. Many analysts had interpreted the about-face as a sign that the Philippine leader was worried about China’s growing military assertiveness.
杜特蒂此前曾尋求終止該條約,但在去年改變了態度,表示將維持該條約。許多分析人士曾將這一轉變解讀為菲律賓領導人對中國日益增強的軍事自信感到擔憂的信號。