Essays in Honour of Peter Lloyd, Volume II
Edited by Sisira Jayasuriya
6. Regionalism and bilateralism in ASEAN Chia Siow Yue and Mari Pangestu INTRODUCTION The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore (ASEAN-5), with the Bangkok Declaration signed in August 1967. ASEAN was founded for strategic and security reasons, to prevent interstate conﬂicts and to respond to the communist threat in Southeast Asia. During the cold war era, ASEAN was a bastion of anti-communism and actively wooed by the Western powers. Brunei joined ASEAN in the 1980s and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) in the 1990s after the ending of the cold war, expanding the grouping into the ASEAN-10. Before the outbreak of the Asian ﬁnancial crisis in mid-1997, ASEAN was much lauded as a dynamic and cohesive organization, able to achieve regional peace and security and, together with the political stability of individual member states, provide the underpinning for the dynamic economic growth of the region. The crisis devastated several ASEAN economies. Preoccupations with domestic ﬁnancial, economic, political and social problems have sidelined eﬀorts at regional economic cooperation. ASEAN has been increasingly perceived as lacking in political will to move forward in regional economic cooperation and integration. The ASEAN countries individually and collectively are facing several tough challenges. The ﬁrst is to ensure sustained economic recovery. In the short term, this depends on cyclical recovery of domestic consumption and investment demand and export demand. For the longer term, ASEAN has to meet the challenges of economic competitiveness, particularly...
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