U.S. officials are coming to the ASEAN summit eager to emphasize the region’s importance, and to rebalance perceptions that it is currently mostly focused on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Cross-cutting issues like climate change are sure to occupy some of the discussion. However, on some issues, finding common ground could be a challenge. Key among these is trade. At the same time, no matter how eager some of the Southeast Asian delegations will be to avoid pressure to choose geopolitical sides, Ukraine and the influence of China are sure to loom large.
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