ASEAN Countries Fear U.S. is Losing Out to China in Southeast Asia

ASEAN Countries Fear U.S. is Losing Out to China in Southeast Asia

NEW YORK -- Traveling across Southeast Asia, one regularly hears that the United States is losing its foothold in Southeast Asia, and squandering away the goodwill it has enjoyed for decades in most of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The U.S. administration, say many in the region, is consumed with diplomatic and military fights in the Middle East, and has neither the time nor the interest to look at Southeast Asia.

At the same time, thanks to its growing economic power, China is steadily expanding its sphere of influence by providing all manner of technical and economic assistance to Southeast Asian countries, generating considerable goodwill in the region's business community and political and administrative circles.

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