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(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.

 

 

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.

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.

ASEAN: Duterte’s China Move

Like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’e high-octane politics or hate it, but his brand of leadership has not been seen in ASEAN in decades, Kavi Chongkittavorn says in this piece for Reporting ASEAN. And whatever one thinks of Duterte’s China move, his overtures to Beijing have gone a long way in defusing the South China Sea tensions.

When It’s All Black

In grieving Thailand, the abrupt and deafening silence is akin to that which follows the sudden switching off of loud music or the television. A visual environment so defined by black – and some grey and white – that it feels like someone pulled down a black-and-white filter across just about everything around. Johanna Son takes us around Bangkok in the days after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

ASEAN, China after the PCA Verdict: We’re Still Friends

A mix of rising tempers, nationalism and politics is swirling in the weeks after the July ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) against China in the South China Sea. But recent communication between ASEAN and China, after the decision, appear to show a mutual desire to get beyond this sensitive issue on the 25th year of ASEAN-China ties, says Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.

Will Timor Leste Finally Join ASEAN in 2017?

For years, Timor Leste has sought entry into ASEAN as its eleventh member state. It finally looks poised to do so under the chairmanship of the Philippines, which is very keen to bring the young democracy into its embrace. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at its efforts thus far to join the regional grouping in this analysis for the Reporting ASEAN series.

ASEAN Lane Shows ASEAN Spirit – and Lack of It

ASEAN Lanes – special lanes at airports in Southeast Asia for travellers from the organisation’s 10 member countries – remain more a concept than a reality in the region. To date, Malaysia is the only country to properly implement the service. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at why the other countries have yet to do so in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.

Russia Injects New Enthusiasm in Ties with ASEAN

Russia’s relations with ASEAN have tended to trail behind those of dialogue partners like the United States, China and Japan. But the Sochi Summit shows how Russia, grappling with unfavourable political and economic environments around it, wants ties with ASEAN to now go full throttle, says Kavi Chongkittavorn in this analysis for the Reporting ASEAN series.

Myanmar’s Deep Fissures Make Explosive Powder Keg

A sense of apprehension and impatience, at times reluctantly expressed but nevertheless real, is fast tempering the heady optimism about Myanmar’s political change nearly two months into the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government. Johanna Son analyses the reasons behind this feeling of discomfort in this piece for the ‘Bangkok Post’.

ASEAN Strives to Balance Ties With China, Japan

As a result of souring China-Japan ties, ASEAN finds itself being wooed by its dialogue partners. The deterioration in the two countries’ relations has led to the economic giants increasing their efforts to strengthen ties with the regional grouping. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at ASEAN’s reaction in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Voter Anger, Frustration Drove Duterte to the Presidency

Anger and frustration – the feeling of being totally fed up – has been consistent through the recent presidential campaign in the Philippines, leading to the victory of a guy viewed as an outsider to the political culture, a rebel, a political heretic. Johanna Son looks at why voters chose Rodrigo Duterte as their next president in this ‘Bangkok Post’ commentary.

Mekong Cooperation, China-style

The China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, which had its first leaders’ summit in March 2016, may sound boring but has big implications for water governance in the Mekong region, and for dividing ASEAN states in their dealings with China. In this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, Johanna Son says that  the Beijing-dominated forum that is far from neutral for smaller states. LMC could also undercut the ASEAN centrality the organisation so values.

ASEAN: How About Accountability Beyond Borders?

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?

As ASEAN Chair, Laos Walks Tightrope Among Big Powers

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.

Whose Healthy ASEAN Community?

In health, ‪#‎ASEAN‬ integration comes across as a double-edged sword. What could the cure by to the illness of approaching health more as a commercial rather than a social good? Rosalia Sciortino of Mahidol and Chulalongkorn universities delves into this in her commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Media Still Disconnected from the ASEAN Community

For too long, media communities in ASEAN have missed reporting on ASEAN’s journey to integration. But the ASEAN Community’s formation presents newsrooms with the challenge of crafting fresh routines to report on the story of integration in a region of 625 million people, argues Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary.

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