We all know CSR. But as ASEAN integration picks up and regional companies do more business overseas, it’s time to go further and push the value of corporate accountability instead, Carl Middleton points out in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series. Can companies in the region go for accountability across borders?
A small and landlocked country, Laos has learned, throughout its long history, how to survive among big powers. As ASEAN chair this year, it handles summits with external powers courting the organisation – the US, Russia and China. So far, so good, writes Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.
Two ASEAN member states stress ASEAN centrality – precious to the regional organisation – amid tensions in the swirling waters of the South China Sea. The region’s solidarity, unity and centrality are “fundamental as they are vital” in resolving issues related to the disputed body of water, the Philippines and Singapore said in this ‘Straits Times’ article by Raul Dancel.
It’s been 10 years since civil society groups in ASEAN started having annual interactions with ASEAN leaders, including face-to-face meetings at summits. But beyond making headlines, how effective have these been in influencing ASEAN’s work or its members’ policies? Mia Gomez and Johanna Son attend a meeting ahead of the 2016 ASEAN People’s Forum to find out in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.
If Thailand were to regress from a democracy to the military-authoritarian rule of before, it would not look out of place in Southeast Asia’s mixed neighbourhood of absolutism, communism, and competitive authoritarianism. But the region is changing, leaving Thailand as the laggard, argues Thitinan Pongsudhirak in this ‘Bangkok Post’ article.
Government officials and farmers’ groups from seven ASEAN countries went on a rare study tour together in Thailand to learn more about cooperatives in the country and also to get to know one another better. Mia Gomez looks at the effort to increase dialogue between farmers and ASEAN sectoral bodies in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.
ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, seen as low-profile compared to his Thai predecessor, has been underrated for achievements such as strengthening the secretariat, getting the European Union to open a mission to ASEAN, and telling China its behaviour in the South China Sea has eroded ASEAN-China links, says this article in SEA Globe.
Indonesian has become a popular language to learn among Thais. This is a gateway to deepening intra-ASEAN linkages, a key building block for the socio-cultural pillar of the ASEAN Community. Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ programme reports from Bangkok and Jakarta in this TV report for the ‘Reporting ASEAN 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.
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.