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Why Southeast Asia is a battleground in the China-U.S. rivalry

ASEAN is world's fifth-largest economy and could play major role in diplomacy

The 10-member ASEAN bloc has become the third-largest economy in Asia and the fifth-biggest in the world.

Southeast Asia is getting more attention as competition between China and the United States heats up. The vast, diverse region of emerging markets is shaping up as a key geopolitical and economic battleground, but it may also offer opportunities for Sino-U.S. collaboration, analysts said.

In the most recent sign of the area's importance, Indonesian President Joko Widodo made the first state visit by a foreign leader to China since the Winter Olympics in February. During his two days in Beijing starting July 25, Widodo met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. The sessions "underscored the great importance attached by the two countries on bilateral relations," Xi said.

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