10 December 2017
In the Golden Jubilee year of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a generous accounting of its achievements this past year would call its track record a mixed one at best.
Looking at the three biggest 2017 security issues in the Asia-Pacific facing ASEAN, be it the intensification of the Rohingya crisis, the ongoing South China Sea dispute, and increasingly aggressive North Korean missile and nuclear tests, only ASEAN’s response to the last can be said to have demonstrated concrete signs of ASEAN unity.
ASEAN needs to redefine an ASEAN Way and not let the norms that have come to define the ASEAN Way also define its future, but strike out to find a new way of reflecting ASEAN’s position on various regional issues where members may differ.
In my opinion, ASEAN at 50 faces a dilemma as it becomes increasingly stretched and irrelevant. “Resilient and innovative” reform of ASEAN itself is arguably the most important task ahead.
…Chang Jun Yan is an Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 11/12/2017