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ASEAN, Not Africa is Becoming The Primary Venue for the U.S.-China Great Power Struggle

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses counterparts at the virtual ASEAN-China summit in Hanoi on November 12, 2020. Nhac NGUYEN / AFP

Three decades after the last Cold War ended, African leaders are understandably concerned they’ll once again get swept up in great power rivalry, this time between the United States and China. But there’s little indication that either Washington or Beijing has any plans to make Africa a primary battleground in their increasingly acrimonious feud.

Instead, Southeast Asia is now emerging as the primary front in this burgeoning great power rivalry. And as the new Biden administration recalibrates U.S. foreign policy to dedicate less attention to China in places like Africa, there’s growing pressure on the White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to focus more of its resources on confronting China in the ASEAN region.

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