11 August 2015
The establishment of the ASEAN Community this year end will usher in a new era of cooperation and stability. However the risk is that its ambitious claims may outstrip its capacity to deliver its objectives.
Southeast Asia is set to usher in a new era of cooperation and stability following last week’s ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They affirmed their commitment to establish the ASEAN Community (AC) by the end of this year, to be formalised by the ASEAN Heads of Government in November. The AC will comprise the three pillars of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the Political-Security Community (APSC) and Social-Cultural Community (ASCC), which were envisaged by the ASEAN Summits of 2003 and 2005.
The ASEAN Community represents the highest form of regional cooperation among the 10 member states of ASEAN that has had a positive impact of good inter-state relations on them the past several decades. That has helped develop rapport and facilitated the habit of cooperation among their leaders and peoples. From fragile beginnings in 1967 ASEAN has become a shining example of regional cooperation worthy of emulation. Credit for this change should be given to President Suharto of Indonesia (1966-1998) and the other ASEAN Leaders who had recognised the need for ASEAN to work together to enhance their capabilities and grow their potential in a rapidly changing globalised world.
… Barry Desker is Distinguished Fellow and Bakrie Professor of Southeast Asia Policy, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This appeared earlier in The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 12/08/2015