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MANILA, Philippines – Alarm over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and intensifying standoff with the United States, and tensions over China's assertive territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea are under the spotlight at an annual summit of Southeast Asian nations in Manila.
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met under extra heavy security in the Philippine capital on Friday, the eve of the summit of the 10-nation bloc, to discuss regional security and efforts to integrate their economies in response to growing Chinese clout.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is also under the limelight as he hosts his first regional summit amid sharp criticism by Western governments and human rights groups of his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs that has left thousands of people dead.