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AUKUS raises questions about Australia as an 'Asian' nation

Canberra's narrative about regional role leaves ASEAN members wary

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, poses with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome on Oct. 30.   © Pool via REUTERS

BANGKOK -- Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne's whirlwind four-country Southeast Asian tour earlier this month seemed a little odd, both in timing and destinations.

Payne visited ASEAN members Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison having already met online with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 10 days earlier during the first ASEAN-Australia summit. Furthermore, a series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings kicked off the same week before Payne ended her tour.

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