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Laos and Cambodia: The China Dance

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.

Where is the Environment in the ASEAN Mindset?

The 50 years of existence that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations marks in 2017 is no small feat. This anniversary provides ASEAN citizens a chance to look back, as well as to look forward. It also allows them to take stock of ASEAN’s vision of development – and where the environment is in this […]

ASEAN-China Ties: Ticking Time Bomb or ‘Asian’ World Order?

Since China has suffered a “century of humiliation” from the imperial powers, it should understand that ASEAN states, too, can suffer similar “humiliation” from China, Bo Yuan writes in this commentary.  In fact, its behaviour in the South China Sea tells ASEAN countries that China sees them as “tributaries” – akin to those during the Imperial China era – that must kowtow to the Middle Kingdom’s supremacy.

‘I Feel Part of ASEAN’

“There are so many things to learn, to hear from the other organisations and CSOs,” Nguyen Thi Kim Que, vice director of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies in Vietnam, said after taking part in the 2nd S Rajaratnam Endowment (SRE) ASEAN Community Forum in Singapore in August 2017.

Have an Article to Contribute?

The Reporting ASEAN series is open to receiving original contributions of articles and analyses on issues around ASEAN, ASEAN’s integration, role and relevance and the impact of its work on the region, Do write us at reportingasean@gmail.com to discuss your ideas – the Editor.

Why Indonesians Haven’t Taken Advantage of ASEAN’s Work-abroad Opportunity

The ASEAN Economic Community is supposed to make it easier for ASEAN nationals to live and work in one another’s countries. But many Indonesians don’t know about the Mutual Recognition Arrangements designed to ease the movement of skilled labor  – or understand them correctly. The result? Fear and misperception, explains Ursula Florene of Rappler Indonesia in her article for the Reporting ASEAN programme.

 

After 50, ASEAN’s To-Do List is Far from Easy

At 50 years old, ASEAN has a lot of work to do to boost its internal strength, making itself more of a middle power through concrete steps that include implementing its own agreements, reviewing its currency basket, giving national treatment to its own investors – and beefing up its own security discussion forums. Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN explains more.

After 50, ASEAN’s Greatest Threat is Itself, Not China

ASEAN is basking in its 50-year glory, but this milestone has also shown how it is, in a sense, its own weak spot. The challenge from within ASEAN itself is its refusal or inability to fix itself from within so that it is solid enough to stave off divisions caused by the presence or absence of external powers, whether it be China, or the United States, explains Johanna Son.

The Philippines’ Headache over China

When history is written one day of how a country called the Philippines dealt with China, would it make for a legend about how it smartly navigated geopolitical waters to assert its territorial and economic rights – or a case study in how to bend over backwards and cede these to its giant neighbour to the […]

Time for ASEAN to be a Middle Power

As ASEAN reaches the 50-year mark, it should free itself from the old confines of navigating between the big powers and build its muscle as a middle power – one that confidently and collectively holds its own against undue external pressures, be it China, the United States, or others. Johanna Son* reports.

 

Is ASEAN Consensus A Blessing or Curse – or Both?

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. 

Q & A: ASEAN A Toothless Tiger

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.

 

 

(Still) in Search of a Genuine ASEAN Community

The ASEAN Community is hard enough to sell to the ASEAN-6 member countries that are already on board. But it’s even more of an uphill climb when it comes to the newer member states, the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), due to three hindrances: lack of awareness, little enthusiasm by a weak private sector, and the public sector’s limited capacity to lead and manage regional cooperation activities. Economist Myo Thant explains why in this commentary for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

Any Takers for ASEAN News?

The growth of ASEAN’s footprint in its constituency’s lives widens the space – and responsibility – by the region’s media to report on the challenges and opportunities of regional integration. While media can invest more in this story, ASEAN’s largely opaque approach to them doesn’t exactly speak of a maturing organisation. This shows few signs of changing radically any time soon, reflecting the less than open attitude toward media freedom by several of its member states, Johanna Son explains in this commentary.

 

 

ASEAN’s 50th Year Agenda: Beyond the South China Sea?

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.

9 Tips for Surviving (and Enjoying) Reporting About ASEAN

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.

 

In ASEAN, ‘We Will Be Thinking As One’

Pushing ASEAN centrality. Speeding up the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. Reviving the East ASEAN Growth Area. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr lays down the priorities during the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, when the regional grouping turns 50 – in this Q&A with Charmaine Deogracias, a fellow in the Reporting ASEAN series.

On the Rohingya, the ASEAN Meeting was the Message

Was it a step forward or a flop? The December ‘retreat’ of ASEAN foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Rakhine state made it crystal clear that the matter is a regional ASEAN issue – and that by itself is a marked difference from ASEAN’s handling of touchy ‘internal’ issues in the past, says Johanna Son in this analysis.

ASEAN at 50 – and Beyond

ASEAN can give itself a pat on the back for reaching the 50-year mark in 2017, having played a key in role in preserving peace and stability in the region. But though the ASEAN Way has worked, it can no longer be as passive as it has been in the past, argues Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.

Philippines Unlikely to Rock the Boat as ASEAN Chair

The Duterte Administration may have stirred controversies in foreign policy, but it is not expected to rock the boat as chair of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations in 2017. The Philippines’ chairmanship won’t be as controversial as Cambodia’s was in 2012, asserts Walden Bello in this commentary for the Reporting ASEAN series.

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