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ASEAN must stay out of great-power tussles in Asia

Amid rising China-US tensions, Southeast Asia should focus on its home ground

Amitav Acharya

The post-Cold War 1990s were a peaceful era in Asia. All the great powers were benign and the Sino-U.S. relationship was good. China still needed help from other countries, including ASEAN members.

Today, we are back in the age of great-power rivalries -- China versus the U.S., China versus India, Russia versus Europe and so on. China now prefers playing its own games, such as with One Belt, One Road and the South China Sea artificial islands, while professing support for ASEAN-led regional institutions, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum or the East Asia Summit.

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