06 February 2018
Singapore has proposed that Asean leaders adopt a vision statement at their April summit to demonstrate a unified front as a big-power tussle for regional influence tests the 50-year-old group’s cohesiveness.
Besides helping the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations navigate the intensifying showdown between outside powers like the United States and China, the envisioned final statement would be designed to help member nations adapt to rapid technological changes.
A draft document was presented to Asean foreign ministers at their two-day meeting ending Tuesday. When it was discussed at a working dinner on Monday night, the ministers all looked to be “supportive”, said an Asean official, who declined to be identified.
… Asked why there is a need for such a statement at this time, Ong Keng Yong, a former secretary general of Asean, said the vision statement is aimed at helping the group consider strategic long-term issues.
“The troubles with China over the South China Sea distracted Asean’s economic integration in the past few years,” said Ong, who is now executive deputy chairman of RSIS, a Singapore-based think tank.
Through the vision statement, “(Singapore) is trying to demonstrate that Asean can look at big picture and long-term issues affecting (members’) own future development,” he said.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 07/02/2018