Opinions 2010

The Centre for ASEAN Studies posts on its Website opinions related to ASEAN by persons affiliated with ISEAS or its Centre for ASEAN Studies and also by others. The opinions expressed are their own and not necessarily those of ISEAS or the Centre.



ASEAN's Socio-Cultural Pillar: A Child with Special Needs? by Moe Thuzar
Date: Dec 2010


The "achievement" of prominence for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) in 2010 seems to be the inauguration of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) at the 16th ASEAN Summit in April 2010 at Hanoi..



China's Ascent and ASEAN by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: Nov 2010


In a major milestone, in August 2010, fast growing China overtook Japan to become the world's second-largest economy. According to data released by the two countries, in 2009, China's nominal GDP was US$5.0 trillion and Japan's US$5.1trillion, but summing the four quarters to Q2-2010, China's economy swelled to US$5.4 trillion, cruising past Japan's US$5.2 trillion.



Has the US become a banana republic? by Rodolfo Severino
Date: 10 Nov 2010


ON THE eve of his current four-nation swing through Asia, President Barack Obama of the United States published an op-ed piece in The New York Times (NYT). In that piece, he sought to justify his trip in terms of jobs and exports.



ASEAN's Forum for Maintaining Peace by Rodolfo Severino
Date: 2 Nov 2010




ASEAN and the South China Sea by Rodolfo Severino
Date: Nov 2010


Territorial claims in the South China Sea are one of the most longstanding security issues in South East Asia. In this article, former ASEAN Secretary-General Rodolfo C. Severino reviews the claims of ASEAN members in the area, and details ASEAN's involvement in the dispute since the 1992 ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea.



Australian Defence Minister's statement on the ASEAN-Plus Defence Ministers Meeting
Date: 19 Oct 2010


I thank the Chief Whip for his question and acknowledge from the outset the role he played in the last Parliament, from 2008, in arguing very strongly that Australia having an association with the ASEAN Defence Ministers was most important and arguing for the outcome that we saw last week, the ASEAN-Plus Defence Ministers' Meeting.



Good Start on ASEAN Defence Cooperation by Ian Storey
Date: 16 Oct 2010


THE inaugural Asean Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Hanoi earlier this week represents an important milestone in efforts by Asean and its dialogue partners to enhance peace and stability in a region grown anxious by fractious maritime disputes.



ASEAN in a Tight Spot by Barry Wain
Date: 16 Sept 2010


IT IS the morning after in South-east Asia. Initially buoyed by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's willingness to stand up to Beijing over the South China Sea, some Asean governments now have second thoughts about having urged American intervention.



ASEAN and Japan: Overview of Bilateral Relationship by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 2 Sept 2010



ECFA not the way for Taiwan, ASEAN by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 31 Aug 2010


On June 29, Mr Chen Yunlin, president of the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, on behalf of the People's Republic of China, and Mr Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, signed in Chongqing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.



ASEAN on path to achieving AEC goal by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 17 Aug 2010


Despite hiccups and hurdles faced by member countries, ASEAN's economic integration efforts won't be derailed easily ASEAN leaders have repeatedly conveyed their political will and commitment to build an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. They signed the ASEAN Charter in 2007, which put in place the institutions and mechanism to build up an ASEAN community.



How the US Plays into the East Asia Summit for ASEAN by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Date: 17 Aug 2010


Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to invite the United States and Russia to participate in the region-wide forum, the East Asia Summit (EAS), which encompasses ASEAN plust six: Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.



The Preah Vihear Dispute: Time for ASEAN to Step Up? by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Date: 10 Aug 2010


The Thai-Cambodian conflict over the Preah Vihear, a Khmer Temple, has been recently further intensified after Cambodia proposed to the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) a development plan for the disputed 4.6 sq km area adjacent to the controversial temple.



ASEAN at the Myanmar Elections? by Tin Maung Maung Than and Moe Thuzar
Date: 4 Aug 2010


One interesting news item that seems to have emanated from the recent ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Hanoi is ASEAN's wish to help ensure the "credibility" of the forthcoming elections in Myanmar. Several ASEAN foreign ministers speaking to members of the press after their retreat session revealed ASEAN's suggestion that Myanmar should allow ASEAN observers to the elections in Myanmar.



ASEAN's Soaring Energy Challenge by Michael Richardson
Date: 26 July 2010


Singapore's energy policy report in 2007 surveyed options for electricity generation and decided that for the time being natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, was the best bet.



Facing up to Second-Half Challenges by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 20 July 2010


Domestic demand and govt's ability to provide stimulus will likely help S'pore withstand external demand slowdown SINGAPORE'S blistering economic growth rate of 18.1 per cent year on year in the first half of 2010 makes it one of the fastest-growing nations in the world.



The Upside to Wage Hikes in China by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 9 July 2010


IS "Made in China" losing ground? In the past few months, Chinese factories have been hit by several strikes as the workers demanded higher pay. Employers in China also reported trouble in recruiting new employees after migrant workers failed to return to their jobs in the coastal regions after the Chinese New Year holidays.



ASEAN's Unenviable Balancing Act: Promoting and Protecting Human Rights by Oh Su Ann
Date: 9 July 2010


Taking the bus to work, going to school, seeing the doctor - these are fundamental rights that we, as citizens of a country, take as given because they are built into the legal framework and the economic and social contract that form the fabric of our society. They are, for the most part, upheld by the laws of our country. This is not the case for refugees living in certain host countries; they have no recourse to the protection of their own government nor to that of their host or occupying country.



ASEAN at the G-20 by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 23 June 2010


The ASEAN Chair, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, will be attending the G-20 Summit in Toronto, where the world's leading economies will tackle the post-crisis global economy.



Towards a better security framework by K Kesavapany
Date: 15 June 2010


The ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus Eight has finally got the leaders' nod for its first gathering to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October this year. The nod could not have come at a better time.



ASEAN and Its Should-Be Role in the Thai Crisis by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Date: 3 June 2010


The Thai conflict seems to have subsided for now. But Thailand has not reached the end of the protracted political trouble. Some of the red-shirted members already returned home in the north and northeast regions. Some disappeared in obscurity.



ASEAN+8 best way to engage US, Russia by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 2 June 2010


A major breakthrough seems to have been achieved in ASEAN's relations with the world's major powers, and the shaping of East Asia's international configuration. In their recent meeting in Singapore, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were reported to have agreed - subject, of course, to the concurrence of the other eight ASEAN nations - on ASEAN inviting the leaders of Russia and the United States to a summit meeting with the 10 ASEAN countries, together with Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, in an 'ASEAN+8' setting.



From bloodless coups to 'live fire' zones - whither Thailand? by Lee Kim Chew
Date: 24 May 2010


Thailand's embattled Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called for national reconciliation after the bloody army crackdown on anti-government red shirt protesters but this is unlikely to mend the deep rifts exposed by the political crisis in Thai society. What ails Thai politics is the end of a political consensus to eschew violence and resolve conflicts within parliamentary institutions. It threatens to become more unstable with blood on the streets unless the trend is reversed.



Life After Nargis by Moe Thuzar
Date: 14 May 2010


On 2 May 2008, Cyclone Nargis smashed into Myanmar's southwest coast, devastating much of Myanmar's lower delta area and leaving a toll of some 140,000 dead or missing. Some 7 million lost families, homes and livelihoods. Damages and losses were estimated at US$4 billion.



European Debt Crisis: Implications and Lessons for ASEAN by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 12 May 2010


With the global economy still coming out of its misery in 2008-2009, Greece got badly exposed for its years of unrestrained spending and failure to implement financial reforms. The country's statistics revealed a national debt of US$414 billion, bigger than the country's economy, and a fiscal deficit of 12.7 percent of the GDP.



ASEAN+8 – A recipe for a new regional architecture by K Kesavapany
Date: 8 May 2010


As the international centre of economic gravity moves towards East Asia, the challenge for the region is to develop a new architecture commensurate with its growing role in world affairs.



Are ASEAN Members Ready for the AEC by 2015? by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 7 May 2010


ASEAN leaders have repeatedly conveyed their political will and commitment to build an ASEAN economic community (AEC) by 2015. They signed the ASEAN Charter in 2007, which put in place the institutions and mechanism to build up an ASEAN community.



ASEAN central to the region's future by Surin Pitsuwan
Date: 2 May 2010


During his visit to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat in Jakarta on 4 March 2010, Kofi Anan, former United Nations Secretary General, commended ASEAN for having regained its profile in the international arena. This profile is something that needs to be nurtured further.



ASEAN shows way to a single market by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 21 April 2010


When the 16th ASEAN Summit convened in Vietnam on 8th April 2010, it grabbed the headlines of national newspapers for many problems among its member countries. Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cancelled his trip to the Summit to deal with mass antigovernment protests in Bangkok.



A Strategic Re-Engagement Perspective for ASEAN and the United States by Eul-Soo Pang
Date: 16 April 2010


There has been an increasing sentiment in Washington and capitals of the ASEAN states that the bilateral relationship between ASEAN and the United States must be restructured to reflect rapidly changing realities.



Slowly but Surely - ASEAN's Progress in Dispute Resolution by S Tiwari
Date: 14 April 2010


ASEAN made good progress, at the recently completed Hanoi Summit, in further developing its dispute resolution framework. This is an important plus for ASEAN. It strengthens ASEAN's position as a rules-based organisation However, it needs to do more and at a faster pace.



Building Fraternity, but not Bureaucracy, For a Stronger East Asian Community by Tommy Koh
Date: 10 April 2010


In his address in Singapore last November, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama explained that his vision of an East Asian community was inspired by the concept of yu-ai, a legacy from his grandfather, which means "fraternity."



16th ASEAN SUMMIT - Families Are Messy But Important by Ernest Z. Bower
Date: 9 April 2010



A New Role for Aung San Suu Kyi? by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Date: 7 April 2010


Looking across the mighty Hlaing River, one does not need to know much of Burmese history to realize that Rangoon was once a culturally rich city. But in 2005, the Burmese regime led by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) famously decided to abandon the beautifully crafted capital city to the greenfield site in Naypyidaw as the country's new government center.



China trade pact will be good for Taiwan by Sanchita Basu Das
Date: 5 April 2010


The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area came into effect in January, but now all eyes are on the proposed trade pact between China and Taiwan. The two sides are widely expected to sign the China-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) this year. But how will China's free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN affect Taiwan?



Why ASEAN Matters to the U.S. by Keith Luse
Date: 2 April 2010


Twenty-one years ago, determining that ASEAN mattered to the U.S., the Center partnered with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore to produce an assessment and recommendations for improved economic relations between the U.S. and ASEAN. The joint final report, (which I have here), prepared by an extensive steering committee, among other things, recommended a U.S. – ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which "could also serve as a forerunner to a wider accord in the Asia-Pacific region".



4 Key Tasks for ASEAN Leaders at Summit by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 1 April 2010


Next week, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene its summit in Hanoi, the capital of this year's ASEAN chair. In the 43 years of its existence, ASEAN has been holding leaders' meetings with increasing frequency. The grouping did not have a summit until February 1976, more than eight years after its founding.



An ASEAN Economic Community by 2015? by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 20 March 2010


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has of late been repeating, like a mantra, its aspiration to become an "ASEAN Economic Community" by 2015. The approach of that deadline – a mere five years away – has prompted concerned observers to wonder whether that aspiration can be fulfilled on time.



Australia and ASEAN: 35 Years On by Gillian Bird
Date: 19 March 2010



A significant event for ASEAN by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 18 March 2010


In A few days, United States President Barack Obama will be visiting Indonesia. It will be an event that many observers rightly consider to be historic in Indonesia-US relations. After all, Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world, and clearly the largest in Southeast Asia.



Asia-Pacific Security: Community, Concert or What? by Amitav Acharya
Date: 12 March 2010


A new Asia Pacific regional grouping is being debated as a direct consequence of developments in Asia-Pacific diplomacy around the Australian proposal for an Asia Pacific community (APc) and the emergence of the G20 global forum.



ASEAN's Legal Framework: Lost Its Stripes or Back with A Roar by T. Jasudasen
Date: 9 March 2010


For a long while now, we have all heard criticisms of ASEAN being a paper tiger or even a toothless tiger. The "ASEAN way" of building consensus and our policy of non-interference in each other's internal affairs are regularly ridiculed as being ineffective. We are chided for not having a strong legal and decision-making framework.



Myanmar junta agrees to election rules, keeps them largely secret by Patrick Winn
Date: 9 March 2010


Myanmar's reclusive military junta has finally settled on rules that will govern long-awaited elections this year, though the measures thus far remain largely secret. On Tuesday, official media reported that a Union Election Commission comprised of at least five people -- required to be "prominent and of good reputation" -- would be formed to oversee political parties and organize the vote.



ASEAN Centrality in Regional Integration by K Kesavapany
Date: 26 Feb 2010


There has been much talk and some controversy of late about "a new architecture" for dealing, in an overarching manner, with political, security and economic issues in the Asia-Pacific region.



China-ASEAN FTA: Why the anxiety now? by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 23 Feb 2010


As 2009 turned into 2010, the mass media got all excited about the 'entry into force' of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA). This mini-frenzy was fed by Indonesians sounding the alarm about a flood of cheap Chinese goods overpowering the products of uncompetitive Indonesian industries.



China keeps wary eye on war games in its backyard by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Date: 10 Feb 2010


Thailand is currently hosting the "Cobra Gold 2010" or CG10, the annual joint exercise with the United States and regional armed forces. The 10-day military exercise kicked off on Feb 1 in Rayong, with the participation of Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.



Agriculture Ministry Seeks Ways To Stem 'Flood' of Chinese Imports to Indonesia by Arti Ekawati
Date: 13 Jan 2010


The government is planning to limit the flood of agricultural imports from China as a result of the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement by applying non-tariff barriers, a senior official at the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.



Regional Architecture in Asia: Principles and Priorities by Hillary Clinton
Date: 12 Jan 2010


I'm delighted to be here at the East-West Center in a new year that marks your 50th anniversary on this beautiful campus in this most extraordinary place. Before I begin with this critically important subject about our future in Asia, I want to just say a few words about developments in Haiti.



Do FTAs Mean Free Trade Agreements or Fear and Trepidation in ASEAN? by Edmund Sim
Date: 10 Jan 2010


The start of 2010 was celebrated by some, but many Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) industrial interests viewed the new year with great apprehension. For them, January 1 marked the full implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) agreement and ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).



Canberra's regional vision 'limited' by Tommy Koh
Date: 6 Jan 2010


Australia and Singapore enjoy a warm relationship going back to World War II. Singaporeans will never forget the sacrifices made by Australian armed forces defending Singapore during that war, the Malayan Emergency and Konfrontasi.



The ASEAN Charter: One year on by Rodolfo C. Severino
Date: 3 Jan 2010


December 2009 marked the first anniversary of the entry into force of the new Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Charter went into effect one month after the last of ASEAN's ten members deposited its instrument of ratification.