According to sources familiar with the situation, China has expressed concerns that the country will face fresh criticism for its actions in the South China Sea when Singapore becomes the chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations next year. Sources claim that Chinese representatives have told their Singapore counterparts in private meetings that they want to avoid trouble for Beijing when Singapore takes over the annual leadership of the 10-nation group in 2018. Potentially one of the most volatile disputes in Asia, Diplomats say they believe that Beijing has used its influence over countries who have chaired ASEAN in the past to water-down the group’s stand on the situation in the South China Sea.
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