Leaders grapple with ASEAN’s thorniest issues at the 34th ASEAN Summit

The 34th ASEAN Summit, which ended on June 23, brought ASEAN leaders together to discuss regional economic, environmental and diplomatic challenges.  

This time around, the biannual summit centred on sustainability. The bloc is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and sustainable development is a major concern for the region.

The US-China trade war received considerable attention. As the two biggest economies in the world are locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle, ASEAN is seeking to mitigate the damage to local economies.

Thornier issues were also brought to the table. Aggressive Chinese movements in the South China Sea and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar both rattled the summit’s cordial façade.

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Zachary Frye