Where to now for the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation?

An Indonesian employee prepares rupiah banknotes at a money changer in Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit, RSIS

East Asian financial cooperation is at a crossroads. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) and its surveillance unit — the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) — are continuing to grow in size and importance. But the structure of these two entities must change to accommodate this growth.

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China aims to set the regional cooperation agenda

Indian soldiers spread a red carpet as they prepare for ceremonies on the Indian side of Nathu La Pass. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chen Dongxiao, SIIS

In late October 2013, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee held a conference of Diplomatic Work with Neighbouring Countries  in Beijing, where it unveiled new priorities under its New Neighbourhood Diplomacy guidelines. The new approach makes China’s neighbourhood, covering both continental and maritime Asia, the top strategic priority for the first time. Read more…

Time for the middle powers to step up

Construction at Chigua (Kennan) Reef in the disputed Spratley Islands in the South China Sea. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gareth Evans, ANU

Leadership is one of those things about which it’s sometimes wise to be careful what you wish for. In the context of Asia Pacific security, there has been far too much preoccupation with who is — and will be in the future — the top dog on the block, and far too little with building the kind of cooperative and collaborative arrangements that will make the region safe and comfortable for all its inhabitants — no matter who has, and for how long, the biggest GDP, the strongest military, the most allies and partners or the most evidently effective soft power. Read more…

The politics of Asian integration


Author: Seungjoo Lee, Chung-Ang University

Economic integration has steadily increased in East Asia. But the region still suffers from what South Korean President Park Geun-hye calls ‘Asia’s paradox’, the disconnect between economic interdependence and backward political and security cooperation. Any further economic integration will likely reflect political power shifts in the region. Read more…

China takes the lead on economic integration

A worker sits in the partial shade of a cement truck outside a construction site at the central business district of Beijing, China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is currently the most important program for deep economic integration. The program envisages the revitalisation of old trading routes with a continental Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st century Maritime Silk Road. Despite its awkward name, the initiative is a well-conceived way for China to connect its economy to the rest of the world, with an early emphasis on links towards Europe through the rest of Asia. Read more…

ASEAN must take a collective stance on the South China Sea

Beijing deployed the Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981 in May 2015 close to the Paracel Islands, triggering a furious reaction in Hanoi and the most serious uptick in tensions in the waters in years. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Vignesh Ram, Manipal University

The South China Sea dispute has become the new normal in ASEAN meetings. The dispute, with its overlapping claims on various land features in the South China Sea, has started to figure as the most important territorial disputes in Asia, one that risks becoming a major power confrontation in the region. With this in mind, ASEAN must take a collective stand on the South China Sea. Read more…

Slow but steady for the ASEAN Economic Community

Thai office workers walk past advertising promoting the ASEAN Economic Community in Bangkok on 13 January 2013. The AEC is unlikely to be ready by its deadline. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

As the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) December 2015 deadline approaches, most observers feel that the initiative’s deliverables — an integrated production space with free movement of goods, services, and skilled labour — will not be achieved. This may be true. But the AEC should be seen as a work in progress. To simply say it will miss its deadline is to ignore other crucial facts about the AEC’s role and circumstances. Read more…