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ASEAN Knocks On The West’s Doors While Keeping China Close Amid Territorial Flare-Ups

China's Premier Li Qiang (2nd L) speaks during the 26th ASEAN-China Summit at the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on September 6, 2023. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / POOL / AFP

This week’s summit in Jakarta saw ASEAN countries again knocking on the West’s door to ask for far more concrete support for their future growth. At the same time, the bloc seemed united in refraining from ruffling China’s feathers too much on the subject of the South China Sea. The bloc — yes, including the Philippines — opted instead to focus on attracting investments and taking a stronger stance on the Myanmar issue

Attracting investments was definitely the highest priority. It took the form of the summit’s flagship event ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF), which highlighted the three strategic sectors that ASEAN sees as imperative for its future growth: green infrastructure, sustainable financing, and digital economy. 

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