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ASEAN Under Pressure at Start of Leaders’ Summit

ASEAN leaders attending this week's summit. Image: Bay Ismoyo / AFP

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders’ summit kicks off in Jakarta on Tuesday as it fights for its relevance and unity amid mounting geopolitical tensions.

Increasing jockeying between China and the United States in the South China Sea has piled pressure on member states. But the fact that both Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden won’t attend has also raised questions about the group’s ongoing relevance. Vice President Kamala Harris and Premier Li Qiang will stand in for them.

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