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International relations

Australia right to huddle closer to Southeast Asia

With the US in retreat and China ascendant, chances grow for future ASEAN accession

| Vietnam

By the standards of global diplomacy, Australia's decision to host its first-ever summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last weekend is hardly epoch-making.

But in its modest way, it is a signal of how the great powers are changing the world -- and how smaller powers are responding to that change. Perturbed by the rise of China and uncertain over the U.S.'s commitment to Asia under President Donald Trump, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his guests in Sydney wanted to show that, as the leaders of smaller regional powers, they want to play a bigger role in defining their own future by deepening their strategic partnership.

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