What Happened: The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold their first joint military drill in the Gulf of Thailand in early September, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Aug. 23.
Why It Matters: The exercise will be the first of its kind between the United States and ASEAN, although the bloc previously held joint drills with China in October 2018. Indeed, the exercise illustrates ASEAN's attempts to position itself as a neutral player between Beijing and Washington amid the growing confrontation between the two countries.
Background: ASEAN announced its joint naval exercise with the United States in October 2018, just before the start of the bloc's first joint drill with Beijing off the coast of China's Guangdong province.
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