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The ASEAN Studies Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The ASEAN Studies Centre is devoted to research on issues that pertain to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN Roundtable 2012 Discusses the AEC Scorecard

ASC's annual flagship event, the ASEAN Roundtable 2012 discussed the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard, evaluating its current status and progress towards AEC milestones, and an assessment of policy reforms necessary to meet end goals.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's Visit to ISEAS

ASC Head and researchers brief HRH on ASEAN developments in a roundtable discussion at ISEAS on 18 July 2011.

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Latest News & Updates

ASC's Head and former ASEAN Secretary General, Mr Rodolfo Severino was a speaker at the AIPR Symposium on Peace and Reconciliation Processes and Initiatives, held in Manila from 7-8 April 2014.

Find out more about the symposium at this link on the ASEAN Foundation's website.




ISEAS organised a seminar cum book launch on 26 February 2014 featuring the book based on a joint study done by ISEAS and the Asian Development Bank, The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work In Progress. The book is a stocktake of ASEAN's efforts towards the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, examining progress on such issues as non-tariff barriers, the investment climate and a survey done on businesses in the region and is intended not only for the policy and decision makers but the Business community as well.

The book’s four editors took part in the seminar which covered a brief review of the State of the AEC as well as business perceptions of the AEC.

The editors of the book were:
- Mr Rodolfo Severino,
Head, ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS

- Ms Sanchita Basu Das,
Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, ASEAN Studies centre, ISEAS

- Dr Jayant Menon,
Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank

- Dr Omkar Shrestha,

The Seminar Slides can be downloaded at this link.

The Seminar Panel. From left to right: Ms Sanchita Das, Dr Jayant Menon, Dr Omkar Shrestha, Mr Rodolfo Severino
P 20140226 105625a2


To purchase the book "The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work In Progress" click here or the thumbnail below.
AEC Work In Progress Cover



With mounting pressure on ASEAN and China to agree to a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, the Business Insider reports that the "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work out rules to ease tensions after a fresh Chinese campaign of assertiveness in the region".

Termsak Chalermpalanupap, a political analyst at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS suggested that China was reluctant to be presented with a "pre-cooked" draft. "Many ambiguities remained about China's position. We still have to find out if they really want a legally binding code," Termsak added.


Read the full article from the Business Insider here.



ASC's Rodolfo Severino shares his views with the Straits Times on cultural divides as a key driver of unrest:

"WHAT do the current political unrest, economic divisions, social turmoil, outright insurgency or civil war in Thailand, the Philippines, Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and other Arab countries have in common?"


"...all of the current upheavals, some violent, others merely unsettling, can be best summarised as being caused by cultural divides or gaps. These occur between the forces of modernisation and those of tradition, or between the educated elite, mostly in the cities, and the teeming masses, mostly in the countryside."


Read the full article from the Straits Times here.





The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work In Progress

If the measures in the AEC Blueprint are to be regarded as ASEAN aspirations and commitments pointing in the general direction of creating the region as a single market and production base AEC 2015 should be taken seriously not only by the ASEAN states but also by businesses and not-for-profit organisations. It is in this spirit that we at ISEAS together with the ADB, are organising this seminar, where three of the four editors of the volume are going to discuss the purpose and the state of the ASEAN Economic Community. The seminar will also throw light on business perception of the economic community.

Featuring the publication of the same title.


The full program can be viewed here- Seminar Notice

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 25 February 2014




ASEAN Financial Integration in the Light of Recent European Experiences

- By Dr Ulrich Volz,

This research seminar will reflect on the ambitions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to foster regional economic and financial integration among its member countries against the backdrop of the European financial crisis.


The full program can be viewed here- Seminar Notice

If you are interested, please register at by 9 February. Seats are on a first come, first served basis.



ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Post-2015 and Understanding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

ISEAS regrets that due to unforeseen circumstances, the Seminar by Ms Sanchita Basu Das has been postponed until further notice.







Views & Opinions

Is Myanmar ready for the ASEAN Chair?

Myanmar assumes the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014. As the ASEAN Chair is expected to be the epicentre of regional action, Myanmar’s ASEAN year will thrust the country into the limelight. But is it ready? The ASC's Lead Researcher for Socio-Cultural Affairs, Moe Thuzar, assesses both sides of the readiness coin and highlights issues that will shape the contours of Myanmar’s chairmanship year in ISEAS Perspective, first published on the 30th December 2013.

To read the full paper, please click on the headline.


Enhancing Regional and Sub-regional Co-operation and Connectivity in ASEAN

"... Despite the various ASEAN initiatives towards integration, progress needs to be accelerated further… Better connectivity within ASEAN is essential for linkages with other regions, such as East and South Asia, which will help ASEAN maintain its centrality in the evolving regional architecture...".  The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das discusses about this issue in the ISEAS Working Paper #3, October 2013.

To read the full paper, please click on the headline.


ASEAN Defence Diplomacy and the ADMM-Plus

"ASEAN Defence Ministers are on the verge of making a crucial policy decision on whether to start regular ADMM+1 meetings with the eight dialogue partners in the ADMM-Plus process... There is concern about whether the ADMM+1 dialogue will complicate ASEAN’s policy towards each of the dialogue partners"...

The ASC's Visiting Fellow Termsak Chalermpalanupap discusses about this in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 26 August, 2013.

To read the full article, please click on the headline.

















The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress Edited by: Sanchita Basu DasJayant MenonRodolfo Severino, Omkar Lal Shrestha
ASC141 This is an important and timely volume: important because ASEAN is an increasingly significant and influential regional and global actor; and timely because, as the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community target approaches, what is needed is a sympathetic yet arms-length survey of the issues and challenges.

ASEAN will miss some of the targets laid out in its AEC Blueprint, but the reader is left in no doubt that the ASEAN spirit is alive and well.

ASEAN-Japan Relations

Edited by: Takashi Shiraishi and Takaaki Kojima

BM4991 This book on ASEAN-Japan relations is the intellectual highlight of the 40 years anniversary of ASEAN Japan cooperation. ASEAN has become an indispensable partner and friend of Japan and its role as the hub of cooperation, development and stability in the region will without doubt become even more important after the establishment of the ASEAN Communities in 2015.

The book contains contributions of the most renowned and respected experts on ASEAN.

ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard: Performance and Perception
Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

AEC book right size The official AEC Scorecard is expected to track the implementation of measures and the achievement of milestones committed in the AEC Strategic Schedule.  However, the Scorecard, in its current form, is too brief and general to be useful for the ASEAN citizens.
This book attempts to fill this gap and evaluates the current status of and the progress towards the milestones of the AEC Blueprint.

Enhancing ASEAN Connectivity

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

Enhancing ASEANs Connectivity ASEAN has a goal to create an economic community by 2015.  To achieve the goal, connectivity among the member states needs to be given due importance.
This book looks at the current state of ASEAN's physical connectivity and challenges in building better infrastructure.  It concludes with the steps needed to be taken for implementation of the various plans, and policy recommendations.

ASEAN-Russia:  Foundations and Future Prospects

Editors: Victor Sumsky, Mark Hong, Amy Lugg

ASEAN Russia Russia is geographically and historically part of Asia and the Asia Pacific, and has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1996.
To commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership in 2011, the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS and its counterpart from MGIMO-University, Moscow co-organised a two-day conference that year, in which papers were presented offering perspectives from Russia and the ten ASEAN member states.  This is a timely book that affords the reader insights into where ASEAN-Russia relations currently stand and suggests how they can improve and move forward.

Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015:  Challenges for Member States and Businesses

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

ASEAN AEC 2015 ASEAN leaders proclaimed to create an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.  But achieving the target requires cooperation and coordination both within and among the ten ASEAN economies.
This book examines the state of readiness of the member countries for regional integration and discusses the challenges to ASEAN businesses.  It gives policy recommendations to address some of the issues faced by the key stakeholders.  


The ASEAN Regional Forum
Author: Rodolfo C. Severino
The ASEAN Regional Forum The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only Asia-Pacific-wide forum for consultations and dialogue on political and security issues.
Although many articles and books have been published on the ARF, this is one of the few books that treat the forum comprehensively and from the standpoint of the region itself.


"ASEAN Roundtable 2012: Examining the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard II"
Date: 25 May 2012

ASEAN leaders have repeatedly conveyed their political will and commitment to build an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.  An AEC Blueprint was adopted in 2007 that laid out a roadmap and is monitored by the AEC Scorecard, which is a compliance tool.  The second AEC Scorecard revealed in the April 2012 Summit, proclaimed that ASEAN has met 67.5 per cent of its target.  The objectives of the roundtable are to evaluate the current status of and the progress towards the AEC milestones and to assess the policy reforms necessary to meet the end-goals.


Report Series

Report Series 12
The Gulf Cooperation Council: A Rising Power and Lessons for ASEAN

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.