The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has come a long way economically and politically over the past 51 years. However, one dimension of ASEAN’s integration process has often been looked over – its social integration between the people of various nationalities in the region. While dollars and cents are undoubtedly important, economic prosperity alone, won’t ensure ASEAN’s success.
As a regional association, ASEAN must avoid the pitfalls of becoming a high-minded, elitist organisation, with its inner workings confined within the hallowed hallways of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. As it evolves, it must adapt to the needs and demands of its constituents – the ASEAN people.This is where a strong social presence is necessary to help ensure the voices of the people are heard when the next major ASEAN masterplan or roadmap is drawn up.
ASEAN GeopoliticsThis week, sanctions on North Korea were further tightened after Pyongyang’s refusal to halt their nuclear program – the latest being Thailand which has been called on by the United States to put more trade and diplomatic pressure on the hermit nation.The ASEAN Post also covered the prospect of achieving a “high quality” Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in pursuit of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).Outcome of RCEP negotiations so far.The question of U