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.
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 […]
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.
“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 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.
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.
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.