China is not yet an economic behemoth in ASEAN, given that it’s s more of a trade power than a major foreign investor in the region. But the day may not be so far away when ASEAN countries find China’s clout to be much bigger – and a more potent geopolitical tool in areas like the South China Sea disputes – if they do not diversify their economic ties, writes Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.
The Philippines as hosted more than 200 ASEAN-related meetings as ASEAN Chair during the organisation’s 50th anniversary this year. But ASEAN remains a mystery of sorts to many Filipinos, who associate with hosting its meetings with holidays, heavy traffic, and evictions of vendors. Daniel Abunales tells us more in this Reporting ASEAN feature.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic has been an ASEAN member country for two decades, but many Lao people don’t feel very connected it. However, they generally believe that being part of the ASEAN family as it deepens linkages within can only benefit the country, Vannaphone Sitthirath explains in this Reporting ASEAN feature.
ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) is two years old, but what concrete difference it has made in curbing trafficking remains unclear. It could have teeth as a legally binding convention – but not all ASEAN countries have ratified it as yet. Analysts say the instrument could also be stronger on prevention, reports Amanda Siddharta for the Reporting ASEAN series.
More than 20 years after Vietnam joined ASEAN, ASEAN’s work and impact have not seen much in-depth coverage – or media interest – in the country. Nguyen Ngoc Tran looks into why this is so in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.
ASEAN needs to appreciate its healthy levels of intra-regional migration as an asset instead of a liability, this new World Bank report argues. Likewise, it says that recognizing and institutionalizing the rights and social protection of migrant workers – undocumented included – will deepen the benefits the region can reap from economic integration. Johanna Son reports for the Reporting ASEAN series.
The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN during the organisation’s 50th year has been a bumpy road, Walden Bello points out this Reporting ASEAN commentary. The year has been marked by Malaysia’s breaking of the ASEAN consensus habit in the ASEAN chair’s statement on Rakhine state, the Philippines’ failure to push the social-protection mechanisms it listed as deliverables, and the Duterte government’s giving China a free pass in the South China Sea.
Despite bureaucratic obstacles and what some call the ASEAN Community’s slow progress, the idea of ASEAN as a single unit – a linked set of peoples and societies and a market – is slowly gaining ground in Vietnam. Read more in this report by Le Trieu for the Reporting ASEAN series.
Laos has been more diplomatically adept than Cambodia at balancing ties with China with those of other countries. But while both are undoubtedly dancing with China, the social, economic and developmental cost of this dance remains to be seen in the coming years, says Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN in this analysis.