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International relations

Sino-US tug of war looms large in ASEAN meetings

China to use promise of coronavirus vaccine to sway members to its side

A Chinese guided-missile frigate: The ASEAN meetings take place against the backdrop of mounting tensions in the South China Sea.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Southeast Asian nations remain divided over how to respond to Chinese maritime advances in South China Sea as the region gets ready to kick off a four-day series of meetings, with Washington and Beijing engaging in an intense tug of war.

The meetings, hosted by Vietnam, will take place online from Wednesday. The ASEAN Regional Forum on Saturday, the final day, will bring together representatives from 27 countries and organizations, including Japan and North Korea, to discuss Asia-Pacific security. The meeting was previously slated for late July but was postponed over the pandemic.

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