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International relations

Trump's ASEAN snub signals US-led Asia order is in decline

Southeast Asian leaders see presidential envoy as sign of disrespect, expert says

U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the ASEAN summit on Nov. 4 in Thailand. (Pool photo)

BANGKOK -- U.S. President Donald Trump skipped one of Southeast Asia's most important diplomatic gatherings for a second straight year, ceding strategic space to China and signaling fading U.S. interest in the region.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Bangkok ended on Monday. The U.S. was represented by National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who took over in September after the departure of John Bolton.

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