Leaders of ASEAN nations convene in Singapore for 33rd annual summit

Leaders of ASEAN nations convene in Singapore for 33rd annual summit

Today, leaders from 10 member states along with senior officials from China, Japan, Russia and the United States gather in

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Photo: Associated Press

Today, leaders from 10 member states along with senior officials from China, Japan, Russia and the United States gather in Singapore to attend the 33rd ASEAN Summit. Regional economic integration will be a key topic as ASEAN members combined are expected to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2030.

The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the impact of the trade war between China and the United States will be discussed. Comprising the 10 ASEAN member states, RCEP aims to create an integrated market of more than three billion people.

American President Donald Trump, on the other hand will not attend the summit. This raises questions about the US commitment to the ASEAN region and gives China an opportunity to increase its regional influence through ASEAN. Trade between ASEAN and China hit a record high of US$514.8 billion in 2017, up 13.8%.

Expect China to attempt to push through the RCEP pact amid the tensions regarding the US commitment to ASEAN.

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