"Strengthening ties with its neighbors has been the official diplomatic strategy of China since 1996. China reaffirms that it would commit itself to becoming a force for peace and stability in Southeast Asia. It stresses that neighboring countries would be 'treated with kindness,' hence posits its benevolent intent in handling various territorial, border and fishing disputes throughout the region. To achieve its regional objectives, China has the pressing need to maintain and enhance relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Such situations will eventually promote peace and stability in the region that are suitable for both parties economic growth and national development. Meanwhile, besides advocating 'preventive diplomacy' among its members and with surrounding nations, ASEAN has launched a promising attempt to expand into a unified body that addresses economic matters particularly with China. Both parties acknowledged that economics are the driving force for development. Correspondingly, there has been a rise in the quality of China's diplomatic representation in Southeast Asia. ASEAN s future undertaking will continue to be on promoting closer regional integration for mutual benefits in developing their respective countries. In all probability, China and ASEAN future relations will be a mixture of cooperation on some fronts, and unresolved issues conducive to tension on the other fronts. At present, the United States of America s (U.S.) security concern in Southeast Asia is to prevent the domination of an unfriendly power, and assuring U.S. political access and influence."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/