Scott Morrison and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 2018 ASEAN Summit in Singapore (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

The government’s recent pivot -- maybe better described as a lurch -- to South-East Asia, while welcome, has some major problems.

Three weeks ago it made a flurry of announcements designed, it appears, to let taxpayers know it was paying attention to the rapidly mounting fallout from the self-inflicted trade war with China.

South-East Asia got the chocolates in a package tailored for the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.