"Beijing has used intimidation to try to stop ASEAN nations from exploiting the off-shore resources, blocking access to 2.5 trillion dollars of oil and gas reserves alone," US envoy Robert O'Brien told the ASEAN-US summit in a speech.
"The region has no interest in a new imperial era where a big country can rule others on a theory that might makes right," added O'Brien, the White House national security adviser.
He also read a message from Trump inviting the ASEAN leaders to "join me in the United States for a special summit, meeting at a time of mutual convenience in the first quarter of 2020".
Trump has skipped the ASEAN-US summit for the past two years, sending Vice President Mike Pence in 2018.
At this year's summit, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was the highest-ranking delegation official, prompting the 10-member ASEAN to downgrade the summit to a "troika" attended only by top leaders from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
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