SINGAPORE, 20 Dec 2012 (ISEAS Perspective) – The 21st ASEAN Summit was held in Phnom Penh, from 17 to 20 November 2012. I have not come across any balanced assessment of the achievements and shortcomings of the Summit. Several reports in the popular media have focused on one or two issues, such as, the disagreement over the sentence in the Chairman’s closing statement that there was an ASEAN consensus not to internationalise the South China Sea issue. In this essay, I wish to summarise what I consider to have been the most important achievements of the Summit as well as to indicate what ASEAN’s main challenges are.
Dec 17 (ISEAS Perspective) – As the deadline of 2015 draws closer, it is apparent that ASEAN will miss many of its goals as stipulated in its three Blueprints of ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). Yet, ASEAN has continued to embark on even more ambitious goals: creating an “ASEAN common platform” on major global issues by 2022 in order to play an increased role in the community of nations, and launching negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which ASEAN hopes to complete by the year 2015.
MELBOURNE, Dec 4 (The Jakarta Post) – There have been two recent important moments to remember in relation to women’s rights in Southeast Asia: the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration on Nov. 18 and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25. In the context of ASEAN, a fundamental issue to be borne in mind is the direction of women’s rights.
Nov 19 (The Nation) – These days in Thailand, not a single day passes by without AEC (Asean Economic Community) on the headlines. The billion-baht worth of AEC campaign is zeroed in on with one single issue: to prepare the country and Thai people to compete with other nine members in the Asean Economic Community by 2015. Under the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the AEC platform has been accorded a top priority and morphed into a major populist policy. Any reference that has the word “AEC” in it would certainly get the government funding. That explains why there are hundreds of AEC seminars in the past several months.
BANGKOK – In this interview with The Nation Channel’s Thananuch Sanguansak, IPS Asia-Pacific’s Johanna Son shares her views about trying to change some usual news habits on reporting on ASEAN summits and ministerial meetings – what governments do — and look more at the community aspect especially as the ASEAN community comes into being.
Oct 4 (The Irrawaddy) – Sitting in The Irrawaddy’s new office in downtown Rangoon as I write this, I can’t help but feel a strange sense of unreality. A year ago, I could hardly have imagined even being here, much less writing this commentary, which not so long ago would almost certainly have landed me in prison.