22 November 2015
When the five foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand came together to will Asean into existence on Aug 8, 1967, squabbles between the young South-east Asian countries were a fresh memory.
Ties between Malaysia and the Philippines were strained by territorial disputes over Sabah, while Indonesia had just wound down its violent campaign of Confrontation against Malaysia and Singapore.
Nationalism was on the rise, and the idea of a collective South-east Asian identity seemed a hopeless ideal. But Asean surprised the doubters, and overcame internal antagonisms to enjoy more than four decades of solidarity.
… China’s “One Belt, One Road” developmental initiative, launching of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and launching a forum to rival the Singapore-based Shangri-La Dialogue all point to a multi-pronged approach to rebalance the US-dominant world order, says S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies senior fellow Yang Razali Kassim.
“While moves such as ‘One Belt, One Road’ and the AIIB have won it new support, China has succeeded in equal measure to antagonise and generate distrust in the region because of its unsettling and divisive impact, especially on Asean,” he said in a recent article.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/11/2015