Another Failure of Leading from Behind

As the Tuesday [ASEAN] meeting ended, people briefed on the matter said discord emerged over how the proceedings should be presented to the public—between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, and among ASEAN members themselves.

Indeed, no official post-meeting statement was produced, as is usual for international meetings.  Several participants issued their own statements, and Indonesia canceled a joint appearance with the PRC representative.  The PRC—not an ASEAN member—even presumed to instruct the participants that whatever ASEAN might say could not be the official ASEAN comment.

We’re not a member of ASEAN, but as a Pacific nation, we certainly could—and should—exercise a measure of influence and help.  But this administration doesn’t want to engage here, either.

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