05 March 2015
As ASEAN enters a critical year in which it has to declare itself as a single ASEAN Community, a fundamental question needs to be asked: Is ASEAN integration a growing reality or an aspiration that remains unfulfilled?
For the ASEAN member states, the benchmark of successful regionalism has been ASEAN’s effectiveness in bringing the region closer. ASEAN has provided a forum for closer consultations while promoting the habit of cooperation. The lack of intra-state conflict in a region derided as a cockpit of war and the Balkans of the East during the 1950s and 1960s has been credited to ASEAN’s success in moulding a greater regional consciousness among policymakers.
Still, in the first 40 years of its existence – from 1967 to 2007 – only 30 per cent of ASEAN agreements were implemented. I was therefore sceptical of the impact of the ASEAN Charter when it was adopted in November 2007.
…The writer is Distinguished Fellow and Bakrie Professor of South-east Asia Policy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This first appeared in The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 06/03/2015