2 OCTOBER 2019 | Reporting ASEAN Vietnam is fully plugged into Asean as Southeast Asia’s regional family, Tran Viet Thai of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam says in the conversation below. Vietnam becomes Asean Chair next year, and 2020 marks the country’s 25th anniversary as a full Asean member. Mr Thai explains how Asean has […]
ASEAN looks to carrying out forms of engagement with major powers in its Outlook for the Indo-Pacific, which ASEAN Leaders endorsed earlier in 2019, writes Kavi Chongkittavorn in this Reporting ASEAN analysis. It defines ASEAN’s concept of the Indo-Pacific – wider than the usual Asia-Pacific and linking this to the Indian Ocean region – and its engagement with major and middle powers in this region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excerpts from remarks by Yang Yi, secretary-general of the Chinese Institute of International Studies, at the public forum ‘The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: Challenges, Opportunities and Ways Forward’ on Apr. 28, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
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.
Strong outside, weaker inside? ASEAN needs to address its internal contradictions before it can achieve true integration and be considered a regional powerhouse. Ahead of the ASEAN Community’s launch, Johanna Son takes a closer look at the ASEAN way in this story for ‘The Irrawaddy’ under the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.