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…

Northeast Asia must cast off the shackles of history

A group of Japanese lawmakers from various parties visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on 22 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tsuneo Akaha, MIIS

The 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II offers an opportunity for Northeast Asia to reflect on the lessons learnt from the past and to forge a vision for a peaceful and prosperous future.

The Northeast Asian countries should encourage domestic debate on the facts of history and their moral implications for today. Read more…

Indonesia’s automotive industry shifts up a gear

An Indonesian worker inspects a passenger car at the Toyota plant in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Kaoru Natsuda, Kozo Otsuka and John Thoburn, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

In 2012 Indonesia produced more than one million motor vehicles for the first time. Its vehicle output rose 3.6 times during 2000–12. This was a large increase compared with global output growth of 1.4 times, while neighbouring Malaysia’s output only doubled. Read more…

Don’t blame Cambodia for ASEAN inaction on South China Sea

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao shakes hand with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during their meeting in Urumqi, 2 September 2012. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Phoak Kung, CISS

Accusations against Cambodia made following the controversial 2012 ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh fail to acknowledge the challenges that each member state faces with the rise of China. Read more…

ASEAN integration remains an illusion

Workers are silhouetted against the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is hosting the 19th ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting from 19 to 21 March 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Barry Desker, RSIS

For the ASEAN member states, the benchmark of successful regionalism has been ASEAN’s effectiveness in bringing the region closer. The lack of interstate conflict has been credited to ASEAN’s success in moulding a greater regional consciousness among policymakers. Read more…

Lee Kuan Yew: death of an outstanding statesman

Vigil guards lift the casket of Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on 29 March 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bob Hawke, former prime minister of Australia

Lee Kuan Yew was quite simply, and unquestionably, one of the outstanding national leaders of the last hundred years. He worked on a small canvas, but what he achieved in tiny Singapore not only transformed the lives of his own people profoundly, but had an immense impact beyond Singapore in shaping the Asia of today. Read more…