The US wants to play in China’s backyard

Asean, once considered essential for diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific, has struggled to remain effective in an increasingly polarised world. It has fashioned itself as a zone of peace and neutrality, where its 10 member states seek consensus, avoid criticising each other and feel free to engage different powers. Its small and weak secretariat, and lack of any process for enforcing decisions on members, reflects this mindset.


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