Southeast Asian countries accept the U.S. military presence because they expect no conflict with the United States, said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

“Most claimants in the South China Sea feel less threatened by the U.S. military presence than the Chinese military presence, that’s for certain,” Spangler said. “As a result, the U.S. military presence can be reassuring relative to the Chinese military presence, which can be cause for unease.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/us-south-china-sea/4594208.html