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International relations

ASEAN summits bring wins but leave big questions on Myanmar, unity

Bloc tightens ties with China, Australia as 2022 shapes up to be tough year

ASEAN this week shored up its relationships with several countries including China, the U.S. and Australia, while attempting to show a stronger stance on Myanmar.   © Reuters

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has ended a string of summits and meetings -- dialogues that brought some tangible results but little progress on the crisis in Myanmar as the group tries to maintain its relevance in the shadow of the U.S.-China rivalry.

Brunei Darussalam's official news release on Thursday emphasized agreements struck over three days, including the ASEAN Shield, "which aims to create a more coordinated and responsive" bloc against emergencies and disasters. Around 100 documents were adopted or noted by the ASEAN leaders, according to Sharon Seah, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singaporean think tank.

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