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International relations

ASEAN to start naval exercise with US in 2019

Defense ministers seek balance as Southeast Asia prepares for drill with China

U.S. defense secretary James Mattis stressed his country's commitment to Southeast Asia during a meeting with ASEAN defense ministers in Singapore on Oct. 19. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Defense, Singapore)

SINGAPORE -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday announced it would start a joint naval drill with the U.S. in 2019. The announcement came as the group prepares for its inaugural joint exercise with China next week.

As trade tensions between the U.S. and China seep out into the areas of defense and security, ASEAN defense ministers are choosing to maintain a balance between the two superpowers.

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