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Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to attendees of the ASEAN-China Special Summit via video link from Beijing in November 2021.    © Xinhua/AP
The Big Story

China's grip on Southeast Asia tightens as U.S. influence wanes

From Vietnam to Indonesia, development aid and 'Asian values' drive Beijing's dominance

RICHARD MCGREGOR, Contributing writer | Southeast Asia

At the opening of a conference on Chinese politics in Hanoi late last year, the Vietnamese host was quick to reassure the delegates. "Talking about a country's political system," she said, "is not the same as interfering in a country's political system."

Few countries know China as well as Vietnam and are as adept at handling it, with skills learned over hundreds of years of managing cross-border trade and skirmishes and, sometimes, war -- on land and at sea.

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