Though far from radical, ASEAN’s consensus document on migration means that the regional grouping has to keep the conversation going, although it still sticks to putting skilled professionals and lower-skilled migrants in separate silos. Doing more on migration might make ASEAN closer to its constituency, as it is a bread-and-butter aspect of foreign policy. Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN tells us more.
As ASEAN’s 50th year celebrations come to an end, what impact has the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) had in pushing member states to address violence against women? How much can it do as a regional body when member states tightly guard against anything that can ‘interfere’ with domestic issues, and when ASEAN is bound by its consensus principle? Reporting ASEAN’s Amanda Siddharta has a frank chat with former ACWC head, Lily Purba.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.