Senior officials from 10 Southeast Asian countries, including some of the world’s fastest-growing, expect joint progress at summits in the Philippines this week on trade, investment and security with help from major world powers.
But analysts say they are unlikely to get too far.
Heads of state from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) arrived one by one Sunday for a series of summits in Manila through Tuesday. They came to sign a free-trade agreement with Hong Kong and issue a proclamation on protecting migrant workers.
Some will share tips at a forum Monday on how small enterprises can get money to vie with big ones.
The leaders are widely expected to endorse efforts toward a denuclearized North Korea and peace in the South China Sea, where four ASEAN members dispute resource-rich tracts of water with Beijing.
Separately they may consider a resolution against terrorism and extremism.
But ASEAN member countries also resent each other over old historical issues — to wit Cambodia and Vietnam — while harboring suspicions of outside powers, some of whom will attend the 31st ASEAN Summit this week. Leaders from China, India, Japan, Russia, the United States and four other countries will join.
Source : https://www.voanews.com/a/southeast-asia-look-for-outside-allies-amid-internal-struggles/4111550.html