According to the Lowy Institute's Asia Power Index, the United States has registered the largest fall in relative regional power of any country in the Indo-Pacific during the last year.
With the US exercises in the South China Sea, the security and political environment is treacherous at a moment when China itself feels under siege.
The racial unrest in the US has drawn accusations of hypocrisy and questions on democratic legitimacy from around the globe, world, including those in Indo-Pacific.
In a major speech ahead of the G20, Prime Minister Scott Morrison commits to further enhancing Australia's relationship with China while maintaining its allyship with the United States.
Australia’s challenge is to prove its utility to ASEAN, and vice versa.