The South China Sea disputes figured much less prominently in the just-finished ASEAN foreign ministers’ retreat in scenic Boracay – in stark contrast to the February 2017 retreat held in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. ASEAN appears to be bent on not letting the South China Sea issue overshadow the celebrations – and backpatting – around its 50th year anniversary this year, reports Charmaine Deogracias for the Reporting ASEAN series.
ASEAN – journalists and editors may love it, hate it or prefer to flee from it. But we in the media might as well know about to tell better and more relevant stories, so here at 9 tips from Reporting ASEAN editor Johanna Son for surviving – and perhaps even enjoying – reporting about ASEAN.
As ASEAN marks its 50th year, calls are being made for a rethink of its consensus principle. This element of the ‘ASEAN Way’ is often faulted for what is seen as tepid, weak and slow responses by the association, but ASEAN’s member states see it as crucial to having kept diverse member states together over the decades – and ensure they keep the conversation going. Nik Luqman contributed this think piece to Reporting ASEAN.
As ASEAN takes stock of its record on its 50th anniversary, it would do well to adapt and change its non-interference policy, which prevents the association from being a genuine, effective ASEAN Community. In this Q&A, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights’ Charles Santiago talks to Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son about ASEAN’s shortfalls in human rights.
Japanese companies no longer see China as a top destination for investment, and are overwhelmingly turning to India and ASEAN for growth, according to a joint survey by Nikkei Inc. and the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ken Moriyasu of the Nikkei Asian review looks at the reasons behind this change.
Japan’s flagging economy is getting a boost from its neighbours – tourists from Southeast Asia keen to see samurais and indulge in a little shopping. Tourist arrivals from ASEAN have jumped 30 to 40 percent, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Suvendrini Kakuchi finds out why ASEAN visitors are flocking to Cool Japan.
“This event is anchored in ASEAN – it is of ASEAN, done by people of and in ASEAN. It feels, looks and talks like ASEAN,” says Johanna Son, editor/founder of the Reporting ASEAN programme in the opening remarks of the Reporting ASEAN Media Forum 2017 in Bangkok.
As ASEAN turns 50, what do the people of Southeast Asia really think about it? While everyone is in agreement that the organisation has matured, more can be done to ensure it continues on the right path. Listen to these voices and more as the Reporting ASEAN media forum opens in Bangkok.
The recent joint communique about the South China Sea dispute stopped short of mentioning the tribunal ruling invalidating China’s claims over most of the waterway. Tan Hui Yee of the Straits Times argues that while Asean has survived this test intact, its consensus-based system has muted its voice compared with the world powers weighing in loudly.
ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum will be held in Timor-Leste this year instead of Laos, due to concerns over possible restrictions and limited freedom of expression. It is also a show of solidarity to reiterate civil society’s support for the inclusion of Timor-Leste as a full member of ASEAN. Read the full CSO Statement here.