News / Asia

Economic Integration Remains Elusive for ASEAN

General view of the meeting room at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Oct. 9, 2013.
General view of the meeting room at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Oct. 9, 2013.
The leaders of Southeast Asian nations will meet Wednesday and Thursday to assess progress on an ambitious goal of realizing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.  The quest for a regional economic partnership is one that even ASEAN's Secretariat is acknowledging remains a challenge, especially amid an uncertain global environment. 
 
The summit's host, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, opened the meeting by noting there has been “some progress” towards ASEAN's goal of regional integration of ten economies (Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) in two years’ time.
  
“But overall, we must continue to show greater political will in doing all we can to realize our community goals by 2015,” said the Sultan.
  
Another big issue for ASEAN is a maritime code of conduct. It focuses on the territorial dispute involving China and several other member nations regarding navigation of the South China Sea.
 
The previous ASEAN Summit came close to what analysts termed a diplomatic implosion when the maritime issue prevented the group, for the first time, from issuing a joint communiqué.
 
This week, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, made it clear while speaking to reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that discussions about the financial crisis faced by Southeast Asia, not the territorial disputes, should be the priority at this year's ASEAN summit.
 
Hua said “China should make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea without adopting any action that may complicate the situation in the region.”
 
The ASEAN meeting will be followed on Thursday by the East Asia Summit. Two high profile leaders will not be attending: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 
In a column published Wednesday in the Brunei Times, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asia Development Bank, Curtis Chin, contends that Obama's absence is contributing to the United States “losing face in Asia” at the expense of China. Chin writes this could lead to a loss of American credibility, power, prestige and influence at a time when Washington is touting a diplomatic “pivot” to Asia.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Great North
October 09, 2013 7:46 AM
It is very sad that the US President was unable to attend this very important summit; such failure to participate will just continue to errode the influence of the US/West. The few extremists that are holding the US executive and the administration hostage to their vey narrow ideology, do not care that they are harming the US and its allies through their dastardly actions; essentially their negative actions are tantamount to a coup against the administration and against the US people to which they are denying the basic services; in addition their actions are having negative impacts on US allies/trading partners. This denial of services, like help to the families of fallen soldiers is a real new low in morality, or the closing of children's health clinics because non payment of delivered services to children of low income families, or failure to issue passports to people that are trying to expand the US economy, etc. Clearly these extremists are hurting everyone, and now they are ready to have a negative impact on the global economy. Like it or not, these type of childlish antics, are starting to look like these people either do not have the intellectual capacity to understand the harm they are causing, or just they are actually intentionally out to derail the very weak gains of the US and of the global economies; their antics may cause another recession. When are the US voters going to wake up and proceed with a recall, were they can, of these extremists, that are causing so much harm to further their extremist agendas?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid