The recent Obama-Xi summit held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California had a full agenda. In the two-day meeting, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping discussed many issues, among them North Korea, cyber security, climate change and China's territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian states.
Hanging over all the discussions was Mr Xi's stated desire to develop "a new style of great power relations". There is an underlying assumption that the relationship between these two great powers will determine the future Asia-Pacific order. Limiting our perspective to East Asia (Northeast and Southeast), it seems that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (Asean) role as the platform of dialogue for external powers has been diminished.
There is evidence that Asean's goal of "socialising" China into the regional norms has not fully succeeded. In fact, China went around regional norms that advocate peaceful settlement of disputes by using civilian marine surveillance ships to intimidate its rivals in the South China Sea. China was also blamed by many for the failure to issue a joint communique' at the 45th Asean Ministerial Meeting.
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