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Backgrounder: Why Next Week’s ASEAN Summit is Worth Watching

Leaders wave during an earlier ASEAN summit in May in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. Bay Ismoyo / AFP

Attendees at next week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit will face a roster of tough issues. In addition to the alarming rise of tensions in the South China Sea and the ongoing military dictatorship in Myanmar, the region is also facing the economic slowdown in China, a keystone trade and investment partner.

How they’ll deal with these questions will be influenced by larger changes within and surrounding the bloc, not least the heating up of the South China Sea as an arena for great power competition.

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