ASEAN running out of time to recast role as buffer in US-China great power competition

ASEAN running out of time to recast role as buffer in US-China great power competition

Shuxian Luo: Brookings. 8th of December 2021

ASEAN is struggling to formulate its position on Chinese aggressions against its member states in the South China Sea. There is a divide amongst members on these issues, with the Philipines and Vietnam pushing for more assertive statements whilst Cambodia and, more recently, Laos lean towards supporting China. This divide renders ASEAN toothless due to its consensus-based decision-making system. ASEAN has scored notable success as an institutional buffer between great powers. However, ASEAN needs to shift its role and drive the dialogue in an era of increasing strategic competition between the US and China.

To read more about ASEAN’s options and the challenges that it faces, click the link.

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