15 APRIL 2017
Commentary: Cold War offers lessons on big power relations for ASEAN
With all the uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s actual foreign policy stance towards Asia, Southeast Asian countries can surely draw inspiration from their Cold War experiences, according to NTU assistant professor Ngoei Wen-Qing
3 APRIL 2017
Armies overshadow naval modernisation in Southeast Asia
With Southeast Asian nations facing a deteriorating external security environment and increasing Chinese maritime assertiveness, many commentators have predicted a widespread naval expansion in the region. Yet to date these predictions have fallen short. Instead
21 MARCH 2017
ASEAN 50 years on: Success or failure?
50 years ago, ASEAN emerged as a beacon of unity in Southeast Asia. Today the group is beset by security challenges stemming from the new US administration, a lack of economic integration and a poor human rights record
12 MARCH 2017
Why do Singapore, Malaysia and others Asean countries use kid gloves with nuclear-armed North Korea?
While the West says North Korea – nuclear-armed and dangerous – must be confronted sternly and directly, Asean member states are hesitant to upend decades of diplomatic relations, still hoping dialogue bears more fruit in the long run
21 FEBRUARY 2017
China’s weapon systems cause jitters at Asean over South China Sea dispute
Southeast Asian countries see China’s installation of weapon systems in the South China Sea as very unsettling and want to prevent militarisation and urge dialogue to stop “recent developments” from escalating
9 FEBRUARY 2017
Revealed: Malaysia’s ‘new evidence’ in island row against Singapore
Malaysia’s “new evidence” that it has sovereignty – and not its southern neighbour Singapore – over the rocky outcrop called Pedra Branca comprise a letter by Singapore’s top colonial official in 1958, a naval incident report the same year, and a map of the Lion City in 1966, This Week in Asia has learnt
4 FEBRUARY 2017
Malaysia reopens Pedra Branca island row with Singapore after a decade
Malaysia on Friday reopened a decades-old dispute with Singapore calling on the UN’s top court to overturn a 2008 ruling granting its neighbour sovereignty over a tiny but strategic island
19 DECEMBER 2016
ASEAN meeting on Rohingya ‘genocide’ ends with humanitarian access promise
Myanmar has agreed to grant « necessary humanitarian access » to the troubled Rakhine State, after a rare intervention from South-East Asian countries
8 DECEMBER 2016
Burma halts sending migrant workers to Malaysia amid Rohingya crisis
The Burmese (Myanmar) government has stopped workers going to Malaysia after Malaysia’s leader criticized its treatment of Muslims, while Indonesia joined a growing chorus of concern about the fate of Burma’s stateless Rohingya Muslims
3 DECEMBER 2016
Stay out of our internal affairs – Burma warns Malaysia
Burma has warned Malaysia against interfering in the country’s internal issues, after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he will take part in a protest against the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state
8 NOVEMBER 2016
Are US allies in Southeast Asia defecting to China?
Malaysia and the Philippines’ rapprochement with China is the result of temporary alignment of interests
7 OCTOBER 2016
Indonesia moves closer to ratifying maritime border treaty with Singapore
Indonesian lawmakers are in the final stages of ratifying a treaty demarcating the maritime boundaries in the eastern stretch of the Singapore Strait
26 SEPTEMBER 2016
Malaysia admits armed forces under probe for IS links
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein admitted today that about 1 percent of those being monitored for possible links to the Islamic State (IS) terror network are from the armed forces
17 SEPTEMBER 2016
Taking the long view of Singapore–Indonesia relations
Relations have been good between Singapore and Indonesia, but challenges still lie ahead. The upcoming leaders’ retreat for Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Indonesian counterpart, President Joko Widodo, will coincide with the golden anniversary (50 years) of formal diplomatic ties between the two nations. Considering how far bilateral relations have come, this is certainly an occasion for celebration
6 SEPTEMBER 2016
ASEAN summit opens in Laos, seeks to tackle trade, human rights, South China Sea disputes
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits began on Tuesday in Laos, and leaders from the 10 bloc members will gather for three days, joined by ASEAN dialogue partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Russia, and the U.S.
24 JULY 2016
ASEAN deadlocked on South China Sea after Cambodia blocks statement
Southeast Asian nations failed to find common ground on maritime disputes in the South China Sea on Sunday (Jul 24) after Cambodia stuck to its demand the group make no reference to an international court ruling against Beijing in a statement, diplomats said
23 JULY 2016
Cambodia blocking ASEAN consensus on South China Sea: Diplomat
Staunch China ally Cambodia is preventing Southeast Asia from reaching a consensus on the South China Sea after an international tribunal rejected Beijing’s territorial claims to the waters, a diplomat said on Saturday (Jul 23)http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/cambodia-blocking-asean/2981110.html
3 JULY 2016
Why do so many countries have claims to territory in the South China Sea?
All the territorial disputes between six Asian neighbours in the South China Sea are, in the end, related to three academic disciplines: history, geography and law
20 JUNE 2016
Three South-east Asian nations to designate shipping corridor in piracy battle
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on Monday agreed to designate a transit corridor for commercial vessels crossing a maritime zone hit by a spate of hijackings by Islamist militants in the southern Philippines
14 JUNE 2016
‘Serious concerns’ over South China Sea: ASEAN ministers in China
Countries in Southeast Asia have « serious concerns » over recent events in the disputed South China Sea, an unusually strongly worded communique issued by their foreign ministers in China said Tuesday (Jun 14)http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/serious-concerns-over/2871648.html http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/151961/asean-highlights-importance-non-militarisation-south-china-sea http://thediplomat.com/2016/06/asean-foreign-ministers-issue-then-retract-communique-referencing-south-china-sea/
23 MAY 2016
Sochi ASEAN summit: Russia eyes economic expansion in SE Asia
Russia moved to forge stronger ties with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last week, pledging to focus on economy rather than geopolitical alliances
19 MAY 2016
Vietnam is Russia’s bridge to ASEAN
The visit to Russia by Vietnam’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hardly drew world attention. Yet, for Hanoi and Moscow, his five-day trip, which started on May 16, assumes great significance
5 MAY 2016
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines reach agreement to coordinate maritime security
Following kidnappings of Indonesians at sea, Indonesia has come to an agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines to boost maritime security after a sit-down in Yogyakarta today
29 APRIL 2016
Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)
As 2016 chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Laotian People’s Democratic Republic is leading the group toward political irrelevance. And that is doubtless how China, the hand controlling the Laotian glove puppet, would like to see it.
Asean seals unlimited flights deal
ASEAN countries pushing for free skies to give travellers more flights and lower fares, as well as new destinations, have reached a key milestone
28 APRIL 2016
The Overlooked Gap in the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s trip to the Philippines on April 13-15 was an affirmation of U.S. support for its treaty ally amid the simmering South China Sea maritime disputes. The timing of his visit was a clear message to Beijing and Manila that Philippine maritime security is a priority for the United States
30 MARCH 2016
US Upgrades Economic Ties With ASEAN Amid China’s Growing Influence
As China’s influence rises, Washington is seeking to expand its own economic and trade ties in Southeast Asia.
17 MARCH 2016
Southeast Asia Dances to the Tune of Japan’s Abe Doctrine
In Southeast Asia, Japan can be said to enjoy unrivaled popularity. According to the 2015 Pew Global Attitudes survey, an average of about 80 percent of respondents surveyed across four Southeast Asian countries said they hold a favorable view of Japan. While China’s expanding military footprint in the disputed South China Sea has a headline-grabbing impact, Japan’s influence in this critical region is felt more steadfastly, but increasingly so, in recent years.
18 MARCH 2016
Deterring China: US Army to Stockpile Equipment in Cambodia and Vietnam
The U.S. Army plans to set up equipment depots–so-called equipment activity sets–in a number of Asian countries, including Cambodia and Vietnam, the top officer of the U.S. Army’s Materiel Command said at a conference
16 FEBRUARY 2016
South China Sea takes centre stage at US-ASEAN summit
U.S. President Barack Obama and Southeast Asian leaders turned their attention to China on Tuesday on the second day of a summit intended to improve commercial links and provide a united front on maritime disputes with Beijing.
14 FEBRUARY 2016
Could ASEAN form a common identity?
The vision of a shared identity in the regional grouping remains a work in progress, but sports, art and entrepreneurship present possible avenues for cementing a stronger sense of belonging between member countries.
29 JANUARY 2016
Conservatives still call the shots in Vietnam and Laos
Vietnam and Laos, the only Communist regimes in South-east Asia, inducted new leadership this past week through party congresses. Changes in both cases saw conservatives prevail
17 JANUARY 2016
Islamic State Branches In Southeast Asia – Analysis
Preparations are underway to proclaim an Islamic State branch in the Southern Philippines, while the Indonesian military has pre-empted IS plans to declare a provincial satellite in eastern Indonesia. Such a foothold will have far-reaching consequences for the stability of the region
14 JANUARY 2016
Jakarta Attack Raises Fears of ISIS’ Spread in Southeast Asia
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in the Indonesian capital on Thursday, raising the specter of an expanded presence by the group in Southeast Asia.
8 JANUARY 2016
Philippines urges ASEAN pressure on China for rules on disputed sea
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday urged Southeast Asian neighbours to put pressure on China to agree on a binding code of conduct to ease tension in South China Sea following Chinese test flights to an island it has built
5 JANUARY 2016
Democratic contraction in Southeast Asia
2015 was the year authoritarian governments. In the course of the year regional governments expanded their use of incumbency and control of institutions to shore up their positions
26 DECEMBER 2015
How to define a strategy for business in ASEAN
Southeast Asia is an attractive region for business growth, and the coming together of the ASEAN Economic Community is yet another vector of great opportunities. To help companies forge their ASEAN strategies, this report sums up how and when global and ASEAN companies can succeed through a regional approach
18 DECEMBER 2015
Are South China Sea tensions triggering an arms race?
Defense spending in the Asia Pacific has been surging in recent years due to escalating tensions over a myriad of territorial feuds, a new report says. DW examines the driving factors behind this military build-up
22 N0VEMBER 2015
Asean Community officially formed by 10 member states in landmark declaration
The Asean Community was officially declared on Sunday morning (Nov 22) by leaders of the 10 member states of Asean, in a landmark moment promising greater regional integration for the 48-year-old grouping
18 NOVEMBER 2015
Indonesia against notion to form ASEAN union
Indonesia is persisting in its stand against the idea of other ASEAN members to transform the grouping into a more integrated union within 10 years, citing economic differences as the main reason, according to a government official on Wednesday
4 NOVEMBER 2015
No joint declaration at Asean defense chiefs meeting amid sea tensions
Disagreement between the United States and China over how to address rival claims in the South China Sea marred a gathering of Southeast Asian defence officials on Wednesday, with a joint statement scrapped after ministers failed to agree on its wording
1 NOVEMBER 2015
Japanese companies remain more keen to invest in ASEAN than China
Japanese companies have shown a big and varied appetite for Southeast Asia this year, buying control of Myanmar’s dominant beer maker, a Singapore logistics company and part of a major commodities firm based in the region
16 OCTOBER 2015
China hosts ASEAN Defense ministers meeting amid South China Sea tensions
China hosted Southeast Asian defense ministers on Friday in an effort to burnish its reputation in a region wary of its territorial ambitions, while expectations grow that the US might directly challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea
5 OCTOBER 2015
Trans-Pacific free trade deal, including four Asean members, agreed creating vast partnership
The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries have agreed to a controversial trade pact that cuts trade barriers, sets labour and environmental standards and protects multinational corporations’ intellectual property
8 AUGUST 2015
Eight challenges Asean must overcome
The successful Asean we all want to see built and that we all aspire to is still a work in progress. http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/648732/eight-challenges-asean-must-overcome
29 MAY 2015
Southeast Asia nations agree on anti-trafficking task force
Countries affected by the Asian migrant crisis issue have agreed to establish an anti-trafficking task force, but the Rohingya migrants still face an uncertain future
20 MAY 2015
Malaysia, Indonesia agree to offer temporary shelter to 7,000 migrants
Malaysia and Indonesia said on Wednesday they would offer shelter to 7,000 « boat people » adrift at sea in rickety boats but made clear their assistance was temporary and they would take no more
14 MAY 2015
Understanding Southeast Asia’s Migrant Crisis
About 25,000 migrants left Myanmar and Bangladesh on rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of 2015, according to a United Nations estimate
8 MAY 2015
Japan, Philippines to hold first naval drill in South China Sea: sources
Japan and the Philippines will hold their first joint naval drill this month in the South China Sea near a disputed shoal claimed by Beijing, sources in Tokyo and the Philippines said
28 APRIL 2015
Asean seeking to resolve sea row ‘through peaceful means’
China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was « extremely concerned » after leaders of Southeast Asian countries expressed worry about land reclamation and navigational freedom in the disputed South China Sea
26 APRIL 2015
Too early for common SE Asia time zone: Diplomats
The proposal would have put the whole region eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, the same zone as regional economic giant China, diplomatic sources had said
21 APRIL 2015
One tanker attacked in SE Asia every two weeks: Watchdog
Pirates attack one small coastal oil tanker every two weeks in the waters off Southeast Asia, which remained the world’s piracy hotspot in the first quarter, the International Maritime Bureau said Tuesday
20 APRIL 2015
Vietnam asked Philippines to form pact to counter China, Aquino reveals
A new “strategic partnership” being negotiated between two states fending off China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea was suggested by Vietnam, Philippine President Benigno Aquino has revealed
9 APRIL 2015
No pivot to SE Asia PM: Dmitry Medvedev says Russia is not trying to counter US influence in the region
Russia, which is now considered by Thailand as a true friend after its ties with the United States and other countries in the West soured in the wake of the military coup, is not trying to counter American influence in this region, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said
10 MARCH 2015
South China Sea security architecture to figure in India-ASEAN dialogue
Amid growing concern over China’s territorial assertions in the South China Sea, India and the 10-member ASEAN will discuss the security architecture in the sea as well as connectivity projects with Southeast Asia to give a fillip to India’s Act East policy, a top official said on Tuesday
19 FEBRUARY 2015
Southeast Asia set to become a new EU
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is on course to declare its 10-member nations a unified common market as of December 31, 2015, but sceptics say European Union-style economic integration will be difficult to achieve http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/02/southeast-asia-set-eu-150211114547688.html
12 FEBRUARY 2015
ASEAN Eyes Closer Military Ties in 2015
The grouping is mulling new defense initiatives under Malaysia’s chairmanship
6 FEBRUARY 2015
Malaysia, Indonesia to solve sea spats
The leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia on Friday pledged renewed efforts to resolve stubborn disputes over maritime borders that have long nagged at one of Southeast Asia’s most important bilateral relationships.
4 FEBRUARY 2015
A new cold war?
With the United States’ renewed affection for Asia provoking suspicion from China, will Southeast Asian nations become pawns as the two superpowers battle for influence?
29 JANUARY 2015
Philippines, Vietnam upgrade ties in show of unity against China
The Philippines and Vietnam are forging closer ties in a symbolic move after China stepped up activities in disputed areas of the East Sea
3 JANUARY 2014
Thai-Cambodian ties ‘warming’
Thailand and Cambodia look set to take a more compromising stance over their dispute on « overlapping » maritime areas, according to a security source. « They have adopted such a stance because they have already reckoned that unsuccessful negotiations mean both sides will lose benefits. If they can’t reach a deal, it will be impossible to use the maritime resources from the overlapping areas, » the source said
27 DECEMBER 2014
ASEAN Way lights path ahead for region
The pursuit of the ASEAN Economic Community – with the goal of forming a single market and production base with a free flow of goods, services, capital and skilled labour – is now in its final stretch
18 DECEMBER 2014
Greater Mekong Subregion likely still a decade away
With the vast Chinese market on its northern doorstep, it is being touted as the next big growth area in Southeast Asia. And it is due to receive a US$51.5 billion boost when Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) leaders meet this week in Bangkok
13 DECEMBER 2014
China, ASEAN should build community of common destiny with strategic mutual trust: Chinese experts
China and the ASEAN countries should build a community of common destiny with strategic mutual trust to meet the supreme interests of all parties, experts from both sides said at the ASEAN Development Forum 2014 held in Hong Kong on Saturday.
11 DECEMBER 2014
S. Korea-Asean Summit marks 25 years of ties
South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have had ties for 25 years, but each of its members continue to have unique values and things to offer each other
10 DECEMBER 2014
Businesses hope for more Korean investments in Singapore, ASEAN companies
The inaugural ASEAN-ROK Business Council Meeting was held in Busan, South Korea on Wednesday (Dec 10) with the aim of boosting co-operation between the private sectors, ASEAN and South Korea.
3 DECEMBER 2014
Three paths to sustained economic growth in Southeast Asia
A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, Southeast Asia at the crossroads: Three paths to prosperity, finds that the region can address its productivity challenges and find new catalysts for growth by pursuing the opportunities associated with three global megatrends
13 NOVEMBER 2014
Abe pledges aggressive infrastructure support to ASEAN members
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced his intention to aggressively provide assistance for infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, his latest move to counter efforts by China to gain influence in the region.
11 NOVEMBER 2014
5 things to watch for at Asean summit
The Asean summit that starts here tomorrow will be the last meeting for ASEAN leaders in 2014 and also the last meeting before the chair rotates from Myanmar to Malaysia. Here are five key issues to look out for:
8 NOVEMBER 2014
ASEAN a perennial quiet achiever
On 12 November 2014, ASEAN leaders will gather in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s new capital, for their twice-yearly summit.
29 OCTOBER 2014
Experts: Start work on ASEAN power grid now
A power network that connects the national grids of all ASEAN countries could boost energy security, increase energy supply and, ultimately, make electricity cheaper for people.
23 OCTOBER 2014
ASEAN companies face cybersecurity challenges
As companies in the region go online, they face cybersecurity challenges in an evolving business landscape with new threats and security systems that are often too fragmented and complex
22 OCTOBER 2014
India-ASEAN Trade: Working Toward Greater Manufacturing Integration
By loosening regulations and attracting investors, India hopes to become a global manufacturing hub. Boosting trade ties with ASEAN is an important step in this direction, as India’s exports to ASEAN have increased roughly 10-fold over the past decade, making it a key export market for Indian goods.
10 OCTOBER 2014
Southeast Asia’s Points of Light in a Murky Democratic Dawn
Nearly two decades into the twenty-first century, the struggle for democracy in Southeast Asia continues to battle strong headwinds. Sometimes, as in Thailand where the military seized power last May, this has resulted in a complete reversal of course.
10 OCTOBER 2014
Asean+3 upgrades finance body
Asean plus Japan, China and South Korea on Friday signed an agreement to upgrade their Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (Amro) to an international organisation in the future.
28 SEPTEMBER 2014
Asean issues first joint statement on ISIS crisis
Asean foreign ministers have raised concerns over the situation in Syria and Iraq, issuing their first joint statement on the brewing crisis over militant group ISIS.The 10-nation bloc released a joint statement on the issue yesterday, after an Asean-US ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly
16 SEPTEMBER 2014
Indonesia ratifies Asean haze pact
The Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which was signed in 2002, went into effect the following year, and Indonesia is the last country to ratify it.
10 SEPTEMBER 2014
Is bigger better for ASEAN in a mega-regional world?
Big-block trade agreements or ‘mega-regionals’, revolving around one or more major powers, are the latest trend in trade policy negotiations. ASEAN is involved in two: the American-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). But are mega-regionals good for trade and economic growth? Will they spur regional and global economic integration? And where does ASEAN stand?
1 SEPTEMBER 2014
ASEAN: Toward a common voice
A united geopolitical voice would give the Association of Southeast Asian Nations a bigger global role, says Simon Tay, the chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. In a related video, the CEO of GE ASEAN, Stuart Dean, explains the company’s approach to the region.
29 AUGUST 2014
Banking integration in ASEAN gathers pace
The ASEAN Economic Community, planned to come into effect in 2015, is expected to liberalise goods, capital and skilled labour flows in the ASEAN region. While there has been considerable progress in the area of trade integration, financial integration still lags behind.
12 AUGUST 2014
Asean calls for progress on Code of Conduct
Expressing serious concern over increased tension in the South China Sea, ASEAN foreign ministers have called for quick progress on a long-delayed Code of Conduct (COC) to manage disputes in the waters where China has rival claims with four ASEAN states
8 AUGUST 2014
Thailand ‘key to growing China-Asean cooperation’
China sees the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) as an opportunity for further cooperation with the region, and says Thailand can play a leading role in the strengthening of these ties.
5 AUGUST 2014
Southeast Asia Supplying Jihadists to Middle East?
Southeast Asian governments with large Muslim populations are concerned that the nascent Islamic State of Iraq and ISIS, or its Islamic rival the al-Nusrah Front, are recruiting young followers for battle and also raising funds throughout the region.
2 AUGUST 2014
Asean to look into boosting security ties ahead of AEC
Asean will explore the ways and means of strengthening cooperation in order to tackle new, non-traditional security threats at the annual ministerial meeting in Nay Pyi Taw next week, an official said
21 JULY 2014
Asean calls for MH17 probe
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has condemned the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine and called for an independent investigation into the catastrophe
1 JULY 2014
China and ASEAN’s Economic Integration: Developments & Opportunities
A collection of articles published by China Briefing on this topic
3 JUNE 2014
China-ASEAN Wage Comparisons and the 70 Percent Production Capacity Benchmark
As wage increases in China continue to rise – along with the comparatively high national welfare costs – increasing comment is being made as to the legitimacy of the “China Plus One” scenario. Coined some years ago, this theory – in reality, more of a shrewd observation – suggests that future manufacturing capacity will be placed both in China and externally in another location by the same manufacturer.
30 MAY 2014
Abe backs Asean position
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Friday to support Vietnam and the Philippines in their territorial disputes with China, saying the use of force and intimidation to change the status quo cannot be justified.
24 MAY 2014
Asean’s neutrality is its strength
12 MAY 2014
Asean fires warning shot across China’s bows
Southeast Asian leaders have expressed « serious concern » over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, presenting a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing.
11 MAY 2014
Sea row dominates Southeast Asian summit
Surging maritime tensions dominated a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders Sunday, with Vietnam calling on its regional neighbours for support in its worsening territorial dispute with China
10 MAY 2014
ASEAN FMs Urge Restraint in East China Sea Disputes
Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have expressed concern over escalating tensions in the South China Sea, where China has been involved in maritime disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines
5 MAY 2014
Asean centrality rests on peoples not leaders
As the global strategic landscape has undergone dramatic shifted, the much heralded Asean centrality is being challenged to the core. The most frequently asked questions these days are: Is there such thing as the Asean centrality? If so has Asean earned it?http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Asean-centrality-rests-on-peoples-not-leaders-30232855.html
25 APRIL 2014
Wake-up call for Asean nations
After almost 47 years of Asean’s existence, there are many who are inclined to believe that the region’s present peace and prosperity are the natural order of things. Delivering the 34th Singapore Lecture this week, Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah noted that the region’s strategic landscape would be influenced by changes in the relationship between emergent major and middle powers. Asean’s challenge would be to find its place in the new configuration
21 APRIL 2014
14 nations look to resolve regional boat people issue
In a two-day international workshop titled Special Conference on the Irregular Movement of People, at the Foreign Ministry on Monday and Tuesday, representatives are expected to establish measures to protect asylum seekers and prevent human trafficking and people smuggling in the region
28 FEBRUARY 2014
Asean winning Japan investments
More Japanese companies are choosing the Asean region over China as an investment destination as rising costs and concerns about the environment make Asia’s biggest economy less attractive, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.
24 JANUARY 2014
Asian countries talk up ASEAN at Davos meeting
The strength of ASEAN is at its greatest when members work together, Southeast Asian countries said on Friday at a panel discussing the future of the regional bloc amid ongoing territorial spats with China
17 JANUARY 2014
ASEAN Ministers Conclude First High-Level Meeting in Burma
ASEAN foreign ministers have concluded the first-ever high-level meeting hosted by Burma, also known as Myanmar, since the once-isolated country joined the grouping in 1997
15 JANUARY 2014
Will an Integrated ASEAN Region Challenge China?
China’s status as the global darling for foreign investment and trade is facing some competition these days from Southeast Asian nations that, while small, are forming an increasingly important economic bloc. Though the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, comprises a market of 610 million people — less than half the size of China’s — the bloc’s more affluent consumers are looking increasingly attractive, especially to Japanese companies wary of risks stemming from escalating territorial disputes with Beijing
11 JANUARY 2014
Philippines, Vietnam condemn China’s fishing law
The Philippines and Vietnam condemned a new Chinese law that requires foreign fishermen to seek Beijing’s approval to operate in much of the South China Sea, but China’s Foreign Ministry insisted it has the right do so. http://asiancorrespondent.com/118205/philippines-vietnam-condemn-chinas-fishing-law/
14 DECEMBER 2013
Japan, ASEAN Pledge Cooperation in Ensuring Freedom of Navigation
Leaders from Japan and 10 Southeast Asian countries have wrapped up a summit in Tokyo with a pledge to cooperate to ensure freedom of air and sea navigation.
13 DECEMBER 2013
Japan ‘to pledge $20 bn aid to Asean’
In a summit of Japan and 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will announce 2 trillion yen ($20 billion) in loans and grants over five years, public broadcaster NHK and business daily Nikkei reported.
29 NOVEMBER 2013
Building ASEAN as a learning community
In October 2003, member states endorsed the ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II), which established a vision for economic integration through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). At the 2007 ASEAN Summit in Cebu, the deadline to establish the AEC was shortened from 2020 to 2015, underscoring the determination of ASEAN leaders to achieve this ambitious goal.
22 NOVEMBER 2013
ASEAN as pawn in great power game
Without a cohesive identity and clear future vision, ASEAN will risk strategic irrelevance and remain at the mercy of great power rivalry between China and the USA for regional influence
24 OCTOBER 2013
Beijing Unveils New Strategy for ASEAN–China Relations
ASEAN–China relations have improved dramatically over the past decade since the inking of their strategic partnership on August 29, 2003. Two-way trade increased more than six-fold over the last ten years to top $400 billion last year, while investments exceeded $100 billion during the same period
23 OCTOBER 2013
Vietnam’s role in ASEAN
Joining ASEAN had crucial social, political, economic and security implications for Vietnam. Vietnam’s membership of the grouping integrated its security with the whole of Southeast Asia and created a favourable environment for economic development. This, in turn, raised Vietnam’s global image, leading to increased cooperation with multiple players in the region and greater bargaining clout with super powers like the United States and China.
11 OCTOBER 2013
Wrap-up of the 23rd ASEAN Summit
The major achievements of the 23rd ASEAN Summit held this week in Brunei can be linked to what did and did not happen.
10 OCTOBER 2013
Myanmar takes Asean chair
Myanmar won a new diplomatic prize Thursday for its dramatic political reforms, taking the helm of Southeast Asia’s regional bloc despite warnings from some critics that the move was premature.
9 OCTOBER 2013
ASEAN summit gets under way in Brunei
Asian leaders are gathering in Brunei against a backdrop of divisive territorial disputes and flagging free trade efforts, with China taking expected to take on a prominent role in the absence of US President Barack Obama.
18 SEPTEMBER 2013
Asean is not yet ready for integration, Mahathir says
Singapore is the onlymember that will be completely ready for economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, and some of the group’s poorer members should be allowed to retain their economic protections, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday
4 SEPTEMBER 2013
‘Diamond decade’ ahead for China, Asean
Trade and investment between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to more than double by 2020, Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.These goals are part of what the premier calls a « diamond decade » of relations the two must strive to achieve. Trade is expected to reach US$1 trillion in 2020, compared with $400 billion last year, Li said at the 10th China-Asean Expo, which opened on Tuesday in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region
20 AUGUST 2013
US firms doubt AEC single market goal
Two leading American business groups Tuesday said US firms operating in Asean countries are sceptical the regional bloc can meet a 2015 deadline to establish a single market.
14 AUGUST 2013
ASEAN vows unity on South China Sea: Thai official
Southeast Asian nations on Wednesday vowed unity in pressing China to accept a binding code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea, the Thai foreign ministry said.
12 JULY 2013
ASEAN: between China and America
Where is ASEAN going right now? Cambodia had a difficult year as ASEAN Chair in 2012, struggling with unfortunate regional tension on the issue of South China Sea, which resulted in ASEAN’s disunity for the first time in 45 years. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/07/12/asean-between-china-and-america/
4 JULY 2013
China Agrees to Discuss ‘Code of Conduct’ Rules
This week the Association of Southeast Asian Nations appeared to make progress on addressing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Following meetings in Brunei, the group announced that China had agreed to discuss a set of rules known as the “code of conduct” to avoid conflict in the disputed waters http://www.voanews.com/content/asean-south-china-sea-dispute-heads-to-beijing-for-talks/1694932.html http://www.asianewsnet.net/Koreas-to-meet-on-Gaeseong-48803.html
2 JULY 2013
China and its Neighbors
In recent years China’s claims in the South China Sea have provoked much regional tension with the Philippines and Vietnam, although while the Philippines and Vietnam also have conflicting claims between each other over most of the Spratly Islands, there has not been much tension between these two nations. Malaysia and Brunei, despite being also parties to the Spratlys dispute, have been keeping a low profile. http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5539&Itemid=171
24 JUNE 2013
Southeast Asia : The next crisis ?
Southeast Asia, so long a byway of the world economy, has become a well-worn path for foreign investors seeking refuge from the continuing after-effects of the global financial crisis. They have come because the region has been surging ahead over the last few years, even as the West slumped, China readjusted and India stuttered. http://thediplomat.com/2013/06/24/southeast-asia-the-next-crisis/3/?all=true&goback=.gde_1972950_member_252658355
14 JUNE 2013
US investment shifts to ASEAN
As China and India begin to lose luster, private investors are increasingly setting their gaze on the diverse and rapidly growing countries of ASEAN. For US businesses, the shift has become especially palpable. http://investvine.com/us-investment-shifts-to-asean/?goback=%2Egde_1972950_member_250373070
2 JUNE 2013
How indigenous people are turned off their lands
Hundreds of thousands in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand are said to have been displaced http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/02/indigenous-people-turned-off-land
23 MAY 2013
China and its Southeast Asian neighbours need more strategic capital
Early this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the ASEAN Secretariat and four ASEAN member countries to strengthen mutual understanding and strategic trust, and show support for ASEAN community building. Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan also visited Brunei and held a consultative meeting with the 10 ASEAN Defence Ministers on the sideline of the seventh ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting to exchange views on regional security issues and discuss measures to reduce tensions in the region, particularly in the South China Sea. Yet there is still a long way to go before a true partnership between ASEAN and China can take hold, with greater investments in strategic trust required. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/05/23/china-and-its-southeast-asian-neighbours-need-more-strategic-capital/
29 APRIL 2013
Wrap-up of the 22nd ASEAN Summit
Last week the ASEAN Summit and its associated preparatory meetings took place in Brunei. Here are a few developments related to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) http://aseanec.blogspot.fr/2013/04/wrap-up-of-22nd-asean-summit.html?goback=.gde_2343547_member_236423857
15 APRIL 2013
Singapore and the US: an extraordinary relationship’ get closer
While Julia Gillard was preparing for her high-profile visit to China, less noticed by the Australian media was a visit to the United States from 1 to 4 April by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee took a senior delegation of ministers and officials and was afforded excellent access: a meeting with President Obama, and calls with the Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury among others. As Obama put it in his remarks to the media during Lee’s call, the US has an ‘extraordinary relationship’ with Singapore: ‘We have extremely close military cooperation. And I want to thank Singapore for all the facilities that they provide that allow us to maintain our effective Pacific presence.’ http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/singapore-and-the-us-an-extraordinary-relationship-gets-closer/
26 MARCH 2013
Religion, race and politics: ASEAN’s Gordian knot
It’s time for ASEAN to play a constructive role in tackling religious and racial tensions across the region. http://thediplomat.com/2013/03/26/religion-race-and-politics-aseans-gordian-knot/
22 MACH 2013
On the fast track to a Singapore–Malaysia economic union?
The recent announcement of a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, with a commute of only 90 minutes, has raised the prospect of closer economic integration between the two cities. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/03/22/on-the-fast-track-to-a-singapore-malaysia-economic-union/
17 MARCH 2013
Warming ties between Malaysia and Singapore
Suffice it to say that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong have continuously demonstrated their commitment to building good neighbourly ties between the nations that they are leading. http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Business/Story/A1Story20130317-409239.html
13 MARCH 2013
Japan seeks defence ties with ASEAN amid China rows
Japan on Wednesday 13 March called for stronger security ties with Southeast Asia as Tokyo looks to boost alliances at a time of growing territorial tensions with China http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1259652/1/.html
10 MARCH 2013
Funding tertiary education in Southeast Asia and beyond
In recent decades Southeast Asian countries have simultaneously enjoyed rapid economic growth and a significant expansion of the higher education sector. But many countries in the region are finding it difficult to pay for this expansion of their universities. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/03/10/funding-tertiary-education-in-southeast-asia-and-beyond/
5 MARCH 2013
Countering Maritime Piracy and Robbery in Southeast Asia: The Role of the ReCAAP Agreement (see PDF)
22 FEBRUARY 2013
ASEAN’s great power dilemma
Since the end of the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has engaged the outside world to play an active security role within greater East Asia. In 1994, ASEAN created the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), at which regional powers such as the United States, Japan, and China meet annually to discuss security issues in the region and beyond http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-220213.html
20 FEBRUARY 2013
Malaysia-Singapore Political Obstacle Removed, but Still No Full Implementation of the AFAGIT
Yesterday Singapore’s and Malaysia’s prime ministers announced plans to build a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This is just the latest progress in improving cross-straits relations. Hopefully, this will help lead to ending the long delay in full implementation of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Goods in Transit (AFAGIT), a key but low-profile aspect of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). http://aseanec.blogspot.sg/2013/02/malaysia-singapore-political-obstacle.html
6 FEBRUARY 2013
Sombath Case a ‘Blow’ to ASEAN
The “forced disappearance” of Lao activist Sombath Somphone is a blow to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), rights groups said Tuesday, as members of parliament across Asia and Europe urged the Laotian Prime minister to order an “urgent” investigation into his case http://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/sombath-02062013164521.html
18 JANUARY 2013
ASEAN dogged by rights concerns
As senior diplomat Le Luong Minh officially assumed the post of ASEAN Secretary-General about a week ago, a court in his home country Vietnam was sending more than a dozen peaceful activists to jail in the largest trial of its kind in the one-party communist state. http://www.rfa.org/english/east-asia-beat/rights-01182013210700.html
13 JANURY 2013
Challenging ASEAN: the American pivot in Southeast Asia
As much as China is front and centre for the United States and Asia, the American pivot is not all about the dragon. It is also very much about the 10 member states of ASEAN. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/01/13/challenging-asean-the-american-pivot-in-southeast-asia/
9 JANUARY 2013
ASEAN seeks talks with Beijing to settle South China Sea disputes
This is the aim of the organisation’s new secretary general, Vietnam’s Le Luong Minh, who wants a new round of discussions to reach a global code of conduct. Rules on navigation and borders are not only a regional issue, but something vital for everyone http://www.asianews.it/news-en/ASEAN-seeks-talks-with-Beijing-to-settle-South-China-Sea-disputes-26816.html
7 JANURY 2013
Brunei to hasten Asean integration
« Brunei’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2013 will be very important in ensuring the ASEAN Community meets its 2015 deadline, and I am confident that Brunei is capable of taking the role as chair », said executive director of the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail Hj Duraman. http://www.bt.com.bn/news-national/2013/01/03/brunei-hasten-asean-integration
20 DECEMBER 2012
ASEAN-India ties boosted by FTA conclusion
Twenty years of ASEAN-India ties received a boost in New Delhi on Thursday 20 with the announcement that the much-awaited ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been concluded, after discussions on the investment and services chapters were completed http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southasia/view/1243743/1/.html
17 DECEMBER 2012
ASEAN’s Time to Invest in Timor-Leste
As Brunei assumes ASEAN’s chairmanship for 2013, one major question it faces is Timor-Leste’s bid for membership in the group. Despite some ASEAN members’ previous resistance to Timor-Leste’s entrance, the country’s sustained political and economic development over the last year and a half reflect a maturing nation poised for ascension to ASEAN. Brunei has a genuine opportunity to build ASEAN’s inclusiveness and invest in a nation that will pay dividends in the future.
4 DECEMBER 2012
Le Luong Minh, the new Asean General Secretary
Vietnam nominated Minh to succeed former Thailand foreign minister Dr. Surin Pitsuwan to be the next secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the term 2013-2017. The secretary general role holds ministerial rank, and rotates among ASEAN countries in alphabetical order.
23 NOVEMBER 2012
US and China vie for influence in SE Asia
When Air Force One touched down in Cambodia this week, Barack Obama became the first US president to visit the country. But during his trip, part of a US attempt to “rebalance” towards Asia, Mr Obama bumped up against a rival power
20 NOVEMBER 2012
No Asean unity in sea row with China
Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) decided on Sunday to ask China to start formal talks “as soon as possible” on crafting a legally binding code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) aimed at preventing violence over disputed territories
18 NOVEMBER 2012
Leaders at ASEAN summit sign human rights declaration
Southeast Asian leaders endorsed a controversial human rights pact on Sunday during an annual summit in which they also focused on bruising territorial rows and deadly unrest in Myanmar. Heads of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hailed their declaration on human rights as a landmark agreement that would help protect the region’s 600 million people http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/1237958/1/.html http://www.voanews.com/content/asean-summit-opens-in-phnom-penh/1548305.html
17 NOVEMBER 2012
ASEAN’s democracy deficit and the protection of human rights
The first-of-its-kind ‘ASEAN Human Rights Declaration’ will be adopted at the ASEAN Summit in November this year.
24 OCTOBER 2012
Free Speech and the Battle for ASEAN
In the last decade, several of ASEAN’s member countries recognized the need for greater regional integration to confront the challenges of the 21st century. They convinced their fellow members to go along, resulting in the 2007 ASEAN Charter and the announcement of the ASEAN Political-Security Community to be established in 2015. The goal of both is the promotion of greater political integration based upon shared values of human rights, rule of law, and democracy. Unfortunately, diverging trends in freedom of expression within ASEAN signal trouble for the fast-approaching 2015 deadline.
17 OCTOBER 1012
The defence of narrow seas in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian states are trying to build up toward an unprecedented level of naval modernisation as tensions in the South China Sea test their abilities to find diplomatic solutions to their territorial disputes.
12 OCTOBER 2012
ASEAN: regional stabiliser in Southeast and East Asia?
On 8 August 2012 ASEAN celebrated its 45th year. As a mature regional economic organisation, ASEAN can act as a potential stabiliser in Southeast and East Asia. ASEAN’s internal developments affect developments in the East Asian region, so the association stands to consolidate this influence by promoting the resolution of the South China Sea issue and supporting Myanmar’s transition to democracy and economic development.
22 SEPTEMBER 2012
China Mends Fences in Sea Dispute
Following much prodding and diplomacy, China appears to be showing some flexibility in its approach towards drawing up a code of conduct with the Southeast Asian nations aimed at avoiding clashes over competing territorial claims in the vast sea, diplomats in the region told RFA
21 SEPTEMBER 2012
Experts paint gloomy picture on South China Sea conflict
As China’s military power grows, the potential for conflicts between members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) may increase, and finding solutions within the grouping could become more difficult, experts have said
4 SEPTEMBER 2012
Clinton calls for ASEAN unity on S China Sea
28 AUGUST 2012
ASEAN ministers vow to narrow gap among nations
ASEAN’s economic meeting pledged on Tuesday 28 to support the association’s new members in order to narrow development gaps between the member countries.
8 AUGUST 2012
The end of ASEAN centrality?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) suffered a major loss of face, at least in the perceptions of some international media and academic experts, owing to its failure to issue its customary joint communique at its last ministerial meeting (ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, or the AMM) in Cambodia held during July 9-13.
18 JULY 2012
Indonesia steps in to mediate South China sea dispute
Appealing for calm over the South China Sea disputes, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has dispatched his foreign minister to several Asean capitals to search for a consensus on the way forward to deal with the issue, particularly with China.
Cambodia, Thailand pull troops from temple flashpoint
Cambodia and Thailand pulled hundreds of soldiers out of a disputed border area on Wednesday, a year after a ruling by the UN’s highest court, replacing them with police and security guards.The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 18 last year ordered the neighbours to demilitarise a strip of land adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple which was the scene of deadly clashes in 2011 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1214288/1/.html http://www.rfa.org/english/video?param=value&storyId=Cambodia-Preah-Vihear http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/07/201271845840265105.html
17 JULY 2012
Why there’s no Asean joint communiqué
I am sharing this article with the Filipino people to inform them of the real state of the discussions during the 45th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh on July 9. I was present during the discussions in the different sessions.
13 JULY 2012
ASEAN talks fail over South China Sea dispute
Days of heated diplomacy at Southeast Asian talks have ended in failure, as deep splits over China prevented the ASEAN grouping from issuing its customary joint statement for the first time. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/07/201271381350228798.html http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/world/asia/asian-leaders-fail-to-resolve-disputes-on-south-china-sea-during-asean-summit.html?_r=1&ref=asia
1 JUNE 2012
Experts make strong case for Asean integration
Despite the painful lessons from Europe, Asean nations are moving towards integration as a way to boost regional resilience against external shocks
5 MAY 2012
Asean seen as economic growth force by 2015
The Southeast Asian region, with an estimated population of 600 million, is anticipated to join the ranks of China and India as a major economic growth force in Asia should its constituent countries succeed in integrating their economies by 2015
3 APRIL 2012
ASEAN strengthens regional cooperation against human trafficking
Senior officials from the ASEAN member states came together yesterday April 3 to strengthen ties in the fight against regional human trafficking
3 APRIL 2012
Asean calls for Burma sanctions to be lifted
Leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), meeting in Cambodia, have called for economic sanctions against Burma to be lifted