This issue brief focuses on digital connectivity efforts through a brief snapshot of Indonesia and Vietnam—the two fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia—to show how China’s neighbors in Asia are on different trajectories in response to US-China strategic competition. As the adoption of digital technologies through developing infrastructure and related networks fundamentally transforms the region, it is a top foreign policy priority for the United States to build a trusted, value-driven digital and technological ecosystem, along with communications and digital-infrastructure networks. This brief overview of how countries in the region are taking different paths on digital connectivity in the context of US-China competition helps analyze the opportunities and challenges that South Korea’s private sector faces in areas related to digital connectivity. The end of this issue brief includes policy recommendations for the United States and South Korea on digital connectivity in the Indo-Pacific.
The issue brief highlights specific policy recommendations for US-ROK cooperation on digital connectivity in Southeast Asia, including:
* This issue brief is derived in part from the author’s working paper for the conference, “US-China Rivalry and the Biden Doctrine in the Asia-Pacific,” at Yonsei University’s Centre on Oceania Studies on October 27, 2021, published as an article in the winter edition of Global Asia.
The Asia Security Initiative, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, fosters a trans-Atlantic-Pacific Community with a dual analytical approach grounded in key traditional and non-traditional security issues in order to develop new strategies and policies for the United States, its allies, and its partners.