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Politics

Growing complexities threaten ASEAN consensus politics

Countries struggle to balance group and national interests

| Vietnam
ASEAN foreign ministers attend the closing ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila in August.   © Reuters

Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, "centrality" is a defining concept -- an implied vision of regional order in which the collective interest of member states comes first -- or at least is not disregarded

"ASEAN centrality" is not a magic incantation whose mere invocation makes all our dreams come true. Nor is it an objective reality that exists irrespective of perceptions. It is a political construct. If you do not recognize it, it does not exist.

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