“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.
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.
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union will not discourage the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from pushing ahead with its own economic integration project, the bloc’s former chief said on Friday. In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said the association can learn from the EU’s experience.
The Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting might have concluded a week ago, but its aftershocks continue to rattle ASEAN as it reassesses its strategy in handling the South China Sea (SCS) dispute. Jason Salim takes a look at some of the editorial pieces and reporting in Southeast Asian newspapers regarding the “media statement” fiasco in this commentary.
The visit this week by democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will certainly brighten the spirits of the Thai people and could also lift the profile of the Thai junta and Myanmar’s top leader. Yet Achara Ashayagachat of the Bangkok Post argues that we shouldn’t romanticize too much about “The Lady” and her capacity.
While the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community has been on several counts a success, there’s still a lot to be done on the travel side when it comes to the secure and seamless movement of people. Tiffany Misrahi explains why a common ASEAN visa will boost tourism within the region and ultimately lead to more growth in Southeast Asia.
Recent years have seen dramatic changes to Burma’s media environment, with the previous quasi-civilian government taking steps to unshackle a press corps long muzzled by successive military regimes dating back to 1962. In the wake of World Press Freedom Day, The Irrawaddy revisits a media history stretching back to the 1800s in this article.
On the heels of China’s overtures to ASEAN and Mekong countries, comes Japan’s answer — a 244 billion baht new cooperation fund for the region. Tassanee Vejpongsa of the Associated Press explains how the initiative will help promote “connectivity” within ASEAN countries and Japan through funding in infrastructure and development of human resources.
The dispute in the South China Sea issue has already climbed up several notches in ASEAN’s agenda over the last few years. China will try different diplomatic means to push its agenda, as Philip Bowring of the Asia Sentinel argues regarding its attempts to present Brunei, Laos and Cambodia as sympathetic to its side on the maritime feud.
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.
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.
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.
Southeast Asia’s waters are boiling with politics, tussles involving fishing boats, South China Sea disputes and dam issues in the Mekong – on top of the steaming-hot weather these days. Thitinan Pongsudhirak analyses China’s conduct in the region in this commentary in the ‘Bangkok Post’.
With the freer movement of labour, capital, investment and goods across Southeast Asia, multinational corporations (MNCs) look set to benefit from deeper economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community. Industry leaders weigh in with their expectations of what the AEC means for their organisations and ideas on how to speed up the integration process in this article from ASEAN UP.