The concluding chapter examines the ambivalent future of ASEAN and the roles China and the United States will play in the process. The widening North-South split in ASEAN limits the chances of mutually supportive behavior among ASEAN states. Though there is a great deal of congeniality on the surface, there are few ties that will produce a solid front if there is an outside challenge to the region. China and the United States have a long history of involvement in Southeast Asia, and both have a desire to avoid conflict. However, they are competitive in this region and have strikingly different operating styles, which will possibly lead to friction and tension between the nations—unless one decides to change or they reach an agreement over semi-permanent spheres of interest.
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