Xi-Asean summit boosts China’s plan to upgrade Southeast Asia ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

China’s long-held plan to upgrade ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a higher tier of diplomatic recognition could come to fruition during next month’s special summit between President Xi Jinping and the bloc’s leaders, observers have said.

The prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore signalled their readiness to participate in November’s summit during the bloc’s talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

The summit with Xi – which has not been previously publicised – is being held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Beijing becoming one of Asean’s “dialogue partners”.

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Bhavan Jaipragas