Beijing-friendly Cambodia and Laos pushed out to ASEAN’s fringe

Meeting with U.S. diplomats in 2007, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding prime minister, offered a blunt assessment of some of the newer ASEAN members.

Laos was just an “outpost for China” and Cambodia’s politics was “too personalized” around the country’s longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen, the late Singaporean statesman said.

ASEAN, formed in 1967 as a Cold War bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia, should not have rushed to expand beyond its five founding members in the 1990s, Lee said, according to U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

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