China Says Southeast Asian Nations Shouldn’t Be Used as ‘Chess Pieces’ in Power Rivalry

The US has been pressuring Southeast Asian countries to join its campaign against Beijing

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that Southeast Asian nations shouldn’t be used as “chess pieces in major power rivalries” as the US has been pressuring regional countries to join its campaign against Beijing.

“We should insulate this region from geopolitical calculations and the trap of the law of the jungle, from being used as chess pieces in major power rivalry and from coercion,” Wang said during a speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. “The future of our region should be in our own hands.”

In the recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy, the US outlined a plan to increase its diplomatic and military presence in the region to counter Beijing. But most Southeast Asian countries appear to be hesitant to pick a side, although many have signed onto a new economic initiative launched by President Biden.

Wang said ASEAN nations should oppose “fake regional cooperation that keeps certain countries out,” referring to US-led economic and military pacts that exclude Beijing.

President Biden’s new economic plan for the Asia Pacific, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), includes the ASEAN nations of Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. But the IPEF is extremely vague at this point, and no specific details between countries have been worked out.

Wang also hit out at the US for its increasing ties with Taiwan, warning that there would be “dark clouds or even ferocious storms” if the one-China policy were abandoned. He said that the US was “trying to play the Taiwan card to disrupt and contain China’s development.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.