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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which began a summit in Manila on Monday, turned 50 this year.   © Reuters

'ASEAN way' confronts new realities of US, Chinese power

Testing times for region that grew its economy by advancing trade in all directions

HIROSHI KOTANI, Nikkei staff writer | China

MANILA -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations finds its ability to set a safe course between the world's colliding powers -- an approach to diplomacy that served it well for much of its first 50 years -- threatened by the changing dynamics of American and Chinese influence in the region.

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. is becoming increasingly inward-looking. At the same time, China, led by President Xi Jinping, continues to work toward expanding its sphere of influence. This development has weakened cohesion among the ASEAN members and raised concern about the bloc's future.

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