Dr. Un Kheang is a Professor of Political Science at the Northern Illinois University and Member of the Board of Director at Cambodia Development Center.
The trilateral security pact announcement between the U.S., UK, and Australia in early September came as a surprise to many. Under this pact, Australia is expected to receive advanced military transfer from the U.S. to strengthen its defense force, including building of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. Although the announce came as a surprise, it is somewhat expected. With China’s on-going economic growth and rise in power, the U.S. has been strengthening its bilateral relationships with countries in the Asia Pacific to keep China in check, particularly the establishment of the QUAD and recently, AUKUS. As much as this new security pact is indicative for containment of China, it also has broad implications for ASEAN, who is at the forefront of the China-US rivalry, especially on its unity.