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HomeDiplomacy‘We choose to engage’: Asean chief calls to dial down US-China tensions

‘We choose to engage’: Asean chief calls to dial down US-China tensions

ChinaDiplomacy

Asean will engage with both China and US, secretary general Kao Kim Hourn says in call to dial down ‘major power’ tensions

‘We do not want any major power to dominate us’, Kao Kim Hourn says, citing ‘comprehensive strategic partnerships with the US and China’Bloc should not let South China Sea overshadow long-prosperous ties with China, Kim tells Hong Kong forum attended by several Asean consuls generalChina-Asean relationsKawala XiePublished: 9:14pm, 14 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Asean will engage with both the US and China for regional cooperation, secretary general Kao Kim Hourn said, while calling for an easing of tensions between the two rival powers.

Delivering a special lecture at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) on Thursday, Kao said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should focus on peace and cooperation, and be open and inclusive in handling ties with both Beijing and Washington.

“We do not want any major power to dominate us. We choose to engage, not isolate … that is why we have comprehensive strategic partnerships with the US and China,” Kao said in a response to an audience question on whether Asean could foster closer ties with China without compromising its relations with the US.

He also said the 10-member bloc should not let territorial disputes in the South China Sea cast a shadow over its long-prosperous overall cooperation with China.

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Several consuls general of Asean member states in Hong Kong – including Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar and Cambodia – were present at Thursday’s forum, which was hosted by HKU’s Research Hub on Institutions of China and also attended by students and researchers.

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