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Some diplomats in China have voiced concerns over President Xi Jinping’s possible indefinite rule, warning that Beijing is set to adopt a tougher approach toward smaller Asian countries to expand its clout in the region.

Most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have maintained amicable ties with Japan, Asia’s second-largest economy after China, but they may start to keep their distance from Tokyo to protect their national interests over the next two decades, the diplomats said.

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