EU and Asean: Partners to manage great power rivalry?

The centrifugal forces of the US-China rivalry risk turning the two most successful regional organisations of the 21st century into the spokes of two competing global hubs. Hence, both have a common interest in preserving the global multilateral structure.

European flags in front of the European Commission in Brussels. PHOTO: AFP
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Can the European Union and Asean work together to maintain the 1945 rules-based, multilateral order that was shaped and built largely by the West? With the rise of great power rivalry between the United States and China, the future of this order, together with its core institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and international law, will be put under severe strain.

The forces of competition and rivalry may well displace the forces of cooperation.

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