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News Article on ASEAN


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This article is used in an on-line teaching course of Southeast Asian Studies. This course is offered only to a group of wonderful students of Lodi High School, Wisconsin, USA.

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News Article on ASEAN

  1. 1.   1     ASEAN  is  key  to  'Asian  century'   By  Parag  Khanna,  special  for  CNN   August  15,  2013  -­‐-­‐  Updated  1254  GMT  (2054  HKT)     Editor's  note:  Parag  Khanna  is  a  Senior  Research  Fellow  at  the  New  America  Foundation   and  Senior  Fellow  at  the  Singapore  Institute  of  International  Affairs.  His  books  include   "The  Second  World,"  "How  to  Run  the  World,"  and  "Hybrid  Reality."   (CNN)  -­‐-­‐  Over  the  past  year  I've  revisited  a  host  of  Southeast  Asian  countries  I  first   began  traveling  in  more  than  a  decade  ago.  The  region's  progress  has  been  remarkable   both  in  terms  of  overall  economic  growth  and  the  promising  opening  of  formerly   isolated  nations  like  Myanmar.  With  China's  slowing  growth  and  rising  wages,   investors  and  exporters  are  searching  for  new  long-­‐term  opportunities  and  sites  of   production.  The  time  of  the  Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations  (ASEAN)  has  come.   Last  month  in  Laos,  I  met  a  Malay-­‐Laotian  couple  with  modest  backgrounds   who  met  while  on  fellowships  in  Japan.  After  their  respective  graduate  degrees,  they   reunited  in  Vientiane  where  they  advise  government  agencies,  donors  and  NGOs.  Their   cross-­‐border  mobility  is  a  symbol  of  an  entire  new  generation  of  upwardly  progressive   Southeast  Asians  who  view  their  success  as  intimately  connected  to  the  broader  region   rather  than  their  smaller  home  nations  alone.  While  much  attention  is  paid  to   President  Xi  Jinping's  articulation  of  a  "China  Dream,"  quietly  an  "ASEAN  Dream"  is   also  being  born.   While  obviously  far  from  integrated  in  the  ways  the  European  Union  is,   ASEAN  now  has  a  momentum  that  Europe's  regional  project  lacks.  Despite  their   historical  differences  and  rivalries,  ASEAN  countries  have  been  pushing  forward   rapidly  with  cross-­‐border  investments,  commercial  integration,  and  intra-­‐regional   trade  that  has  kept  them  growing  fast  -­‐-­‐  averaging  more  than  5%  -­‐-­‐  even  as  the  major   export  markets  like  Europe  lose  steam.  With  about  600  million  people,  ASEAN  has  only   half  of  India's  population  but  already  a  larger  GDP.  Research  firm  IHS  projects  that   ASEAN's  GDP  will  reach  $4.7  trillion  in  2020,  not  far  off  where  Japan  is  today.      
  2. 2.   2   Strategic  location   ASEAN  countries  have  strategic  geography  on  their  side  as  well.  The  region   forms  the  crossroads  of  China  and  India,  with  deep  infrastructural  links  re-­‐emerging   gradually  through  Myanmar.  It  is  also  the  main  conduit,  via  the  Straits  of  Malacca,  for   most  of  the  world's  oil  flows  between  the  Near  East  and  Far  East.   Now  is  the  time  for  ASEAN  to  move  from  size  to  coherence.  Over  the  past  50   years,  Southeast  Asia  has  experienced  colonial  liberation,  the  traumatic  Vietnam  War,   internal  rivalries  between  Indonesia  and  Malaysia,  various  forms  of  strongman  rule,   and  diplomatic  self-­‐isolation  through  non-­‐alignment.  Today  the  region  can  be   considered  largely  stable  save  for  the  simmering  South  China  Sea  dispute.   This  is  ASEAN's  chance  to  assert  its  collective  voice,  with  American  backing,   vis-­‐à-­‐vis  China  and  ensure  that  no  single  power  dominates  these  crucial  waters.  The   same  applies  to  the  issue  of  China's  rampant  upstream  damming  of  the  Mekong  River,   which  threatens  the  stability  of  downstream  flows  on  which  ASEAN's  heavily   agricultural  nations  depend.   Continued  economic  integration  is  also  a  strategic  imperative.  ASEAN  is   expected  to  launch  an  Economic  Community  (EAC)  by  2015  that  can  either  boost  the   region's  growth  potential  or  reveal  deeper  protectionist  firewalls  in  both  strong  and   weak  economies.  As  much  as  Vietnam  and  Thailand  stand  to  gain  from  even  greater   access  to  Myanmar,  Cambodia,  and  Laos,  a  community  worth  its  name  needs  a  vision  to   help  develop  its  poorest  members.   The  top  priority  both  to  promote  integration  and  assist  weaker  ASEAN   nations  must  be  infrastructure  investment.  Besides  Singapore,  which  has  already   become  a  first  world  city-­‐state,  only  Vietnam  and  Malaysia  have  significantly  invested   in  nationwide  infrastructure.  Coupled  with  significant  political  and  regulatory  reforms,   their  second  wave  is  under  way.  Other  major  ASEAN  countries  such  as  Indonesia,   Thailand  and  the  Philippines  are  finally  ramping  up  in  terms  of  allocating  greater   shares  of  the  national  budget  and  overall  GDP  to  infrastructure.     Crucial  gateway   Far  too  often  flooding  and  other  mishaps  take  critical  sectors  of  their   economies  offline.  Indonesia  is  now  focused  on  roads,  Thailand  on  railways,  and  the   Philippines  on  ports.  If  they  execute  on  these  critical  projects,  the  current  growth  rates   will  be  far  more  resilient  in  the  years  ahead.  Furthermore,  with  their  high  savings  
  3. 3.   3   rates,  dynamic  private  sectors,  and  growing  interest  from  international  markets,  much   more  indigenous  and  foreign  capital  can  be  allocated  towards  public-­‐private   investment  pools  that  can  finance  long-­‐term  infrastructure  needs.   We  should  remember  that  ASEAN's  integration  and  development  is  as   fundamentally  a  social  as  an  economic  or  political  issue.  Around  the  world,   urbanization  is  bringing  never-­‐before-­‐imagined  opportunities  to  more  than  50  million   people  per  year  who  move  into  cities  -­‐-­‐  but  it  has  also  exacerbated  inequality,  fueling   unrest  from  Sao  Paulo  to  Istanbul.   For  inclusive  growth  to  occur,  urbanization  must  be  strategically  conceived   as  a  vehicle  for  employing  -­‐-­‐  and  training  -­‐-­‐  tens  of  millions  of  youth  in  construction,   hospitality,  healthcare,  education,  and  other  services.  Furthermore,  the  large  rural  poor   populations  of  Myanmar,  Cambodia  and  Indonesia  need  the  basic  health  and  education   systems,  as  well  as  more  advanced  agricultural  equipment  that  open  borders  can  bring.   For  decades  ASEAN  has  been  thought  of  as  a  second-­‐tier  regional  body.  Now  it  has  a   chance  to  be  the  crucial  gateway  between  powerful  regions,  a  network  of  sustainable   cities,  and  a  thriving  pillar  of  the  century  of  Asia.   Source:­‐dream-­‐khanna/index.html     Discuss  the  following  questions  with  your  partner   1. According  to  the  article,  why  is  cross  border  mobility  important  for  the  new  generation   of  Southeast  Asia?       2. What  might  be  some  of  the  positive  and/or  negative  outcomes  of  the  early  stages  of   cross  border  mobility  throughout  Southeast  Asia?     3. It  is  suggested  by  the  article  that  there  are  still  some  differences  in  many  aspects   within  Southeast  Asia  nations.  What  are  they?       4. What  might  be  some  of  the  practical,  physical,  religious  or  historical  barriers  which   might  need  to  be  overcome  so  that  SEA  nations’  relationship  may  flourish?       5. What  are  some  of  the  challenges  for  Southeast  Asia  to  make  ASEAN’s  dream  come  true?   Please  explain