Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Philippines goes to ASEAN

The president of the Philippines on her ASEAN meeting hopes reported here:
The Chief Executive said she would pursue investments in energy infrastructures and broader collaboration among ASEAN members in new and renewable energy and alternative fuels "if we need to keep our economies humming, and our lights on, through the next three decades."

She said she will also push for joint efforts by ASEAN, the United States as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to ensure and strengthen regional security in this part of the globe.

"Maritime security is also imperative to stop piracy and armed robbery, as well as arms smuggling and human trafficking along the vul-nerable sea lanes of the region. Joint border patrols must be the norm across our common seas," the President said.

The regional grouping needs to "boldly step up the alleviation of poverty in the BIMP-EAGA sub-regions, reinvestments and tourism, making it the broader strategic arena for durable peace and development in Mindanao," she added.
More on the importance of the ASEAN summit here:
The first East Asian summit of regional leaders in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday is a historic event whose future impact is likely to be as significant as the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit held in Bali in February 1976.

The first Bali summit led to the emergence of a cohesive ASEAN 5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) in the aftermath of the emergence of communist regimes in Indo-China.

Today, the presence in Kuala Lumpur of a rising China and resurgent India and the absence of the United States, which has played the role of an Asia-Pacific hegemon since the end of the World War II, suggest we are on the cusp of a new era...

...Wednesday's meeting is significant because it goes beyond narrow geographical definitions or ethnic/racial identity in attempting to lay the groundwork for a new regional institution.

The EAS summit is preceded by the annual ASEAN gathering, separate meetings of the ASEAN leaders with their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea, and the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) meeting involving the leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan and South Korea.

The inclusion of India, Australia and New Zealand and the presence of Vladimir Putin of Russia demonstrate an outward-looking, inclusive approach to participation in the emerging East Asian regionalism...

...The participation of India, Australia and New Zealand was seen as ensuring that ASEAN remained at the center of any emerging East Asian community. India was also perceived as a balance to China. Indonesia, for example, sought to avoid aligning with China while retaining friendly ties to other powers such as the US, a classic "hedging" strategy...

...For ASEAN states that prefer a regional balance of power, a regional security architecture that is outward-looking and promotes the observance of international norms and codes of conduct is preferable to one dominated by a single power. An active US presence enables this vision of the region's future to be sustained. In future years, the US should therefore participate in the EAS as it is likely to emerge as the key institution for East Asian community-building.

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