Digitalizing ASEAN (2): Three Key Pillars

In the second of two-series article, we introduce ASEAN Youth Initiative Empowerment Programme, a one-week program for ASEAN Youth organized by ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada. The theme of the program is “Digitalizing ASEAN”, which will be explained in this article and the following article.

We have acknowledged the importance of “digitalizing ASEAN” as an inseparable part of ongoing regional integration. What is to be done in the future? What would ASEAN youths do to socially integrate people across the region  through emerging digital platforms? read more

Digitalizing ASEAN (1): What It is and Why It is Important

In this first series of article, we introduce ASEAN Youth Initiative Empowerment Programme, a one-week program for ASEAN Youth organized by ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada. The theme of the program is “Digitalizing ASEAN”, which will be explained in this article and the following article.

ASEAN is now 50 years old. We are now witnessing the age of rapid technological development as well as greater connectivity in the region. We are also stepping forward into ASEAN Community, which has been implemented since 2015.The rapid development on regional economic cooperation under the so-called ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) demonstrates high commitment of ASEAN member countries to become not only the largest market, but also to establish a form of collective identity. read more

ASEAN Economic Community: In Search of a Single Production Base

A key motivation behind the pursuit of a comprehensive ASEAN Economic Community is to establish a single production base. By doing so, ASEAN member states hope to increase their competitiveness, which in turn will boost exports and continue to attract investment to the region. However, whilst ASEAN has been successful in tariff reduction, Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) impede a truly single production base and ASEAN Economic Community. Given the slow progress at the regional level, ASEAN members must individually take unilateral action in addressing NTBs, as well as advancing trade facilitation measures, such as coordinating and sustaining investment in infrastructure with a regional orientation.   read more

Marawi’s Crisis Requires ASEAN’s Centrality, Not External Intervention

Since the past two weeks, Southeast Asia has been putting a serious concern to its security and stability caused by the state of crisis in Marawi and Mindanao. Isnilon Hapilon, appeared to be a famous criminal who has committed itself in a global crime featured in the list of targeted person by FBI, becomes the reason why Armed Forces of Philippines started its fire in Marawi. Currently, the AFP has been fighting against 400 militants of Islamist fighters in Marawi, including foreign fighters, causing almost 200,000 civilians flee away from the city. By placing the entire Mindanao under martial law, President Rodrigo Duterte perceived that this approach would end the crisis soon. read more

ASEAN Summit 2017: A Conclusion to South China Sea?

In April this year, the ASEAN Summit kicked off at the heart of the Philippines – Metro Manila. With the theme entitled “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, this summit was well attended by all the head of states and government officers of the member-states. This then will be followed by the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asian Summit, both later this June and November.

The recent concluded summit indicates that the focuses are more on the on-going of member-states’ concerns. Of which this window of opportunity has been taken to set the tone of this year’s summit. It is not unusual practice though, for the issues of concerns to receive more prominence. In fact, this is in line with ASEAN’s raison d’être, which it has a broad agenda that includes regional economic cooperation, promoting defence relations and socio-cultural cooperation, serving its purpose as the central role of regional body. read more

Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) and the New Politics of Regionalism in Southeast Asia

China officially launched the Belt and Road Initiatives on May 2017. Attended by 29 partner countries (with the absence of some prominent neighbours such as India), the launching of the initiative has marked a new direction in China’s foreign policy, with scholars has signalled this initiative as a new shift in international politics.

The so-called “Belt and Road Initiatives” (BRI), however, is not Beijing’s new foreign policy project. It has been formulated since 2014, which was coincided with the establishment of Chinese-led initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Unlike AIIB, however, Beijing’s direct involvement is more prominent in the BRI, in which the initiative was directed and strongly controlled by Beijing, whilst the AIIB tended to be multilateral and based on expertise. read more

UAE-ASEAN Relations: Beyond “Emirates’ Diplomacy”?

In the past several years, there is an increasing tendency among the countries of the Gulf to direct their foreign policies towards the growing economies of Asia. Despite relatively unreported, the UAE’s relationship with ASEAN exemplifies this trend. This article attempts to highlight the UAE-AEAN relations and what could be offered to improve this relations in this future

The formal diplomatic relations between the UAE and the ASEAN member countries began during the 1970s, although this took place in midst of the prevailing geopolitical constraints of the Cold War and mainly be guided by the GCC’s patterns of political ties with the region. Even though there have been long-standing diplomatic representatives between several countries of ASEAN such as the Philippines and Malaysia, most of the expansion in the diplomatic networks occurred throughout the 1990s and 2000s. read more

‘Brexit’, the European Union, and the ‘Communication Deficit’: A Lesson for ASEAN

‘Brexit’ has created shockwaves through the European Union and called into question whether regional integration is sustainable, and ASEAN is watching developments closely. A key issue that ASEAN must learn from ‘Brexit’ is to address the ‘Communication Deficit’ by engaging in social integration.

The ‘Communication Deficit’ refers to the difficulty European institutions and actors have in disseminating information to the citizens of Europe. A lack of information often creates suspicion and skepticism, and undermines the trust society has in its institutions. Indeed, common criticisms of the European Union point to its elitist, highly bureaucratised and complex structures. Furthermore, communication administered by the European Union is of an academic nature consisting of technical jargon, reducing accessibility for the nonprofessional. From the British perspective, the elitist nature of the European Union has been popularised by leading Eurosceptic Nigel Farage, who in 2010 questioned the leadership credentials of the President of the European Council Herman Van Rumpy and the democratic structures of the European Union:   read more

Has ASEAN Moved Away from ZOPFAN?

From April 26-29, Manila hosted the 30th ASEAN Summit. The summit is expected to make progress on the current geopolitical crisis which affects the Southeast Asian region. Among the rests, the situation in the Korean peninsula and South China Sea dominates the negotiation. However, ASEAN decided to leave the South China Sea off the negotiating table.

On Thursday (27/4), Philippine President and Current ASEAN Chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte, stated that there is no point raising China’s contentions activities in the South China Sea in the Summit as nations are helpless to stop them. read more

Why ASEAN Needs to Regulate Land and Water Grabbing Issues

Political stability and food security are inter-related both at national and regional level. The distortion of political instability would eventually affect food availability and distribution. On the one hand, food scarcity, which will increase food price and shortage, could provoke political instability. During the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN have been projected its institution as the global food granary. In fact, the ASEAN countries today are still facing issues on land and water grabbing. To solve this issue, ASEAN must help member countries to address the problem of land and water grabs by developing regional regulation to support investment on agriculture. read more