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ASEAN will not drown in the South China Sea

Ships anchored off the coast of Singapore (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

Is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations still relevant? Its inability to reach a consensus over claims, counterclaims and great power rivalries in the South China Sea has exposed cracks in the group's unity, prompting academic commentators and journalists to question its future.

Without a minimally credible answer to that question, ASEAN will be marginalized but will not disappear. Regular meetings of leaders and ministers will be held with pomp and ceremony. Solemn statements will be issued. But will anyone take much notice?

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