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ASEAN must counter Chinese attempts to own RCEP trade agreement

Multilateral trade agreement will shore up the group's Asia centrality

| Indonesia
A virtual meeting of leaders from 15 RCEP member countries, pictured in Hanoi on Nov. 15: the impetus came from ASEAN. (Photo by Tomoya Onishi)

Marty Natalegawa is a former Indonesian Foreign Minister and author of "Does ASEAN Matter?: A View from Within"

It has become a common refrain among some commentators that the recently concluded Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership -- accounting for about a third of the world's population and trade -- was "China-initiated" or is "China-led." Nothing could be further from the truth.

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