Roundtable with Rexon Ryu

On Friday 29 July 2022, the Perth USAsia Centre was pleased to host Rexon Ryu, President of The Asia Group, for a private roundtable.

Based in Washington DC, The Asia Group is a premier strategic advisory firm to the world’s leading companies seeking to excel across Asia. As its president, Mr Ryu draws upon over two decades of experience working in global diplomacy, national policy making and executive leadership to provide strategic and political insight to translate geopolitical and economic trends throughout the Indo-Pacific into business development campaigns.

While on a visit to Australia arranged by the Department of Defence, Mr Ryu joined us in Perth for the discussion with leaders from across government, business and academia to assess unfolding trends in the Indo-Pacific region, and how the US and Australia can work together to tackle the big issues facing government and industry. Mr Ryu was also able to act as an interlocutor between Perth and Washington DC, sharing key insights into the current government and policy landscape in the US capital.

Discussion focused on the US-Australia alliance as the most consequential relationship for the US due to its implications for upholding a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. As the evolving strategic environment continues to pose new challenges to the US and its allies, America’s partnership with Australia is key to its defence and security engagement in the region. The US and Australia are now in a critical decision-making phase of the relationship, as it seeks to define its future direction and operationalise AUKUS for nuclear submarine development.

The US faces a number of challenges in the region, most prominent of these being its relationship with China. Conversation at the roundtable noted that the recent Biden-Xi talks were a cautiously encouraging sign of a more open dialogue between the two countries, reflected by President Xi’s willingness to meet with President Biden despite to public indication that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be calling off her visit to Taiwan.

Over the coming years, the central theme of US engagement in the region will be thinking about how it engages itself with China. The US will likely continue to view the Indo-Pacific through a lens of competition, with a continued focus on how it can further bind like-minded countries such as Australia through new and different forms of cooperation.

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