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US-Asean friendship worth cultivating

China's shadow looms, but ties with Asean promise gains beyond the strategic.

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US President Obama, (pictured at the end of his address at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane on Tuesday), leaves office in two months, but with the US's ties with Asean beefed up on the political, cultural and commercial fronts. The effects of this will be long-lasting.

Washington

BARACK Obama is in Laos with leaders of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) and its offshoot, the East Asia Summit, for his last meeting as US president.

Given China's success in preventing Asean members from raising contentious territorial issues, the

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