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After reopening doors in ASEAN, Biden must put something on table

Washington can only compete with China by presenting concrete initiatives

| Southeast Asia
U.S. President Joe Biden poses with ASEAN leaders at the White House on May 12: The administration will have to up its game.   © Reuters

Richard Heydarian is a senior lecturer at the Asian Center of the University of the Philippines and author of "The Indo-Pacific: Trump, China and the New Struggle for Global Mastery."

There is an old adage that 80% of diplomacy is simply showing up for international summits. This is especially true in Southeast Asia, where there is a perennial fear of strategic abandonment as well as an extreme sensitivity to perceived slights and snobbery by major powers.

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