President Donald Trump’s absence from next week’s East Asia Summit in Thailand has been met with little surprise in Southeast Asia. Photo: AP

What does Donald Trump’s East Asia Summit absence mean for China’s regional influence?

  • Observers believe the president’s absence reflects his disdain for long-distance trips that do not culminate in blockbuster deals
  • Southeast Asian countries have sought to keep the US engaged as a means to counter China’s increasing strategic assertions
Topic |   Asean

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President Donald Trump’s absence from next week’s East Asia Summit in Thailand has been met with little surprise in Southeast Asia. Photo: AP
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Bhavan Jaipragas

Bhavan Jaipragas

Bhavan is Asia Correspondent for the SCMP, covering breaking news, politics, diplomacy, trade and Southeast Asian macroeconomic trends. His work for the Post's Asia desk also focuses on the region's multifaceted interactions with the United States and China. A Singapore native, Bhavan previously worked for Agence France-Presse.