Asean morning news for February 21

Asean morning news Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu          @stmarisewudolu   Southeast Asian nations seize opportunities in Islamic finance sectorThe three predominantly Muslim countries out of ten in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, are on the way to form a new hub for Islamic finance and the wider halal industry through their current roadmaps to develop the sector.— Gulf Times U.S.-China Trade War Boosts Fast-Growing Southeast AsiaTrade tensions between the U.S. and China are adding rocket fuel to the liftoff of Southeast Asia’s economies.— Forbes…

Indonesia key to ASEAN centrality – Opinion

During the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney last March, then-Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull reiterated, “We believe in ASEAN centrality”. That repetition genuinely indicated where Australia stood, but desire cannot be taken to be destiny. Over the past two years, the United States, Australia, Japan and India have reinstituted the meeting of the “Quad” albeit at the senior official level rather than ministers. Along with China, these four countries are the region’s naval powers. The Quad members are committed to the notion of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) despite…

Defense think tank: China successful in ASEAN – News – NHK WORLD

Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies says China is trying to build regional support for the country along the South China Sea by dividing Southeast Asian nations. This year’s report by the institute on China’s military development focuses on the impact of China’s One Belt One Road economic initiative on regional security. The initiative is aimed at creating a massive economic bloc with China at its center. The report says China has greatly contributed to infrastructure development of ASEAN member countries and that ASEAN has become part of Belt and…

Can ASEAN Play a Greater Role in the Mekong Subregion?

ASEAN should aim to be “central” in the Mekong subregion too. By Shawn Ho and Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit for The Diplomat January 30, 2019 Southeast Asia is often thought of as comprising of two wings, maritime Southeast Asia and mainland Southeast Asia. The five mainland Southeast Asian states of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam make up the Mekong subregion. The Mekong River, which is Southeast Asia’s longest river, flows through all of these five mainland Southeast Asian states and it provides for the livelihood of tens of millions of people…

China’s dominance in Asean must come with moral leadership

LETTER | The recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report regarding senior Chinese officials offering to bail out 1MDB and derail investigations into the alleged corruption in the fund in exchange for stakes in the ECRL in Malaysia, has raised serious concerns.  Being linked to the wider web of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the manner of execution of such project in Malaysia and in other different countries now raises questions if the BRI is a noble win-win global trade connectedness or something more sinister. Viewed together with some questions…

ASEAN meet rocks no boats on Rakhine, South China Sea

A two-day Foreign Ministers’ Retreat was the regional group’s first meeting since Thailand took over its annual chairmanship. The host’s summary of the meeting emphasised the humanitarian role ASEAN members could play in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where more than 700,000 members of the Muslim minority fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape a brutal government counterinsurgency campaign. Standard ASEAN practice is to avoid criticising what are considered each country’s domestic affairs. But Myanmar’s Rakhine crisis is also a regional problem, because of the hundreds of thousands of refugees it…

Asean morning news for January 21, 2019

Asean morning news Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu          @stmarisewudolu   Down to work: Asean foreign ministers focus on trade, humanity, crime (video)Following a day of social immersion and the opportunity to sound each other out on issues with candid one-on-one talks and a working dinner, Asean’s foreign minister got down to work on Friday (Jan 18) with trade, humanity, and crime key items on the agenda.— AEC News Today (video) Hope for Rohingya: Asean foreign ministers put China, Myanmar on noticeA gathering of Asean foreign ministers in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand,…

Inside the 2019 Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat – Day 2 (gallery)

Following a day of social and cultural immersion and one-on-one chats, Asean’s foreign ministers got down to the formal work on Friday (Jan 18) in the Grand Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai. Photos from inside the event provide some interesting glimpses of the manner of discussions. Rather than gathering around a table, delegates are seated in comfortable arm chairs, in a circle, eliminating a head. Large monitors and floral arrangements sit at the centre., seating for two advisors provided behind each minister. Stationary appears to be made from…

Asean questions China and US over near-collision in South China Sea, Singapore News & Top Stories

South-east Asian defence chiefs were worried enough about tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea to seek an explanation from the two powers at a just-concluded key security summit, and received some reassurance in return. Speaking to reporters at the end of the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and its expanded platform, the ADMM-Plus, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said a recent near-collision between a US warship and a Chinese destroyer in the disputed waters had been “too close for our comfort”. “During our dialogue sessions,…

ASEAN ministers rock no boats in Myanmar, South China Sea

Foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday hewed to the group’s practice of reaching the least provocative consensus possible in discussions of such divisive issues as Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. A two-day Foreign Ministers’ Retreat was the regional group’s first meeting since Thailand took over its annual chairmanship. The host’s summary of the meeting emphasized the humanitarian role ASEAN members could play in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where more than 700,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority fled…