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Lack of an economic strategy is hurting US in Southeast Asia

Lloyd Austin's recent tour of region was a success, but tensions remain

| Southeast Asia
Rodrigo Duterte greets Lloyd Austin with a friendly fist bump at the Malacanang Palace on July 29: Austin's biggest achievement was convincing Duterte to fully restore the Visiting Forces Agreement.   © Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division/Reuters

Lynn Kuok is Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Neglected by top U.S. officials since President Joe Biden took office in January, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's first official tour of Southeast Asia last week -- which included stops in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines -- was closely watched.

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