06 November 2019
Between October 31 and November 4, the convening power of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was on full display. A slew of ASEAN-centered diplomatic events including ASEAN Summit, East Asia Summit, ASEAN-United Nations Summit, ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) Summit, ASEAN-China Summit, ASEAN-India Summit and Mekong-Japan Summit were held in Bangkok.
At the summits, in keeping with the ASEAN chair, Thailand’s theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability,” leaders adopted various declarations pertaining to a range of pressing issues including climate change, children protection, education, active aging and social work and vaccinations, among others. In addition, ASEAN signed agreements with China and the World Bank on connectivity and infrastructure investment. ASEAN even inked a memorandum of understanding with FIFA with an eye on co-hosting the 2034 World Cup.
…Regrettably, Thailand failed to achieve what could not be done under Singapore on RCEP. Now the prevailing assumption is that RCEP, most possibly without India, could be finalized earliest in February, 2020 under Vietnam’s ASEAN stewardship. The bucks should and must stop in Hanoi in the interest of not only RCEP participants but also the wider global community under the threat of protectionism. The world desperately needs a torchbearer like the RCEP championing free trade and cooperative international economic order.
… Dr. Ji Xianbai is a research fellow with the International Political Economy Programme of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
CMS / Online
Last updated on 06/11/2019