Leaders of East Asian countries have laid the groundwork for a European Union-style bloc that will cover half the world’s population, analysts and officials say. Discussions on the grand project began during the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.

Rodolfo Severino, Asean’s former secretary-general, told the AFP news agency: “It is coming together.”

The proposal for the so-called East Asian Community project was mooted by Yukio Hatoyama, the Japanese prime minister, to fellow leaders at the summit, saying the region should aspire to “lead the world”.

Japan is not a member of Asean, but if the project materialises, it – along with South Korea, China, India, Australia and New Zealand – would be part of Asean, which includes Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other Asean member states are Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, the Philippines and Cambodia.

“It’s not just Asia coming together economically but politically as well. The more integrated you are, the more forceful you are”

Head of the Singapore-based Asean Studies Centre

Severino said a more cohesive Asia would have a bigger role in global affairs, especially after the region overcame the global economic crisis more quickly than the West.

“It’s not just Asia coming together economically but politically as well. The more integrated you are, the more forceful you are,” Severino said.

He currently heads the Singapore-based Asean Studies Centre.

A key issue raised during the East Asia summit and during the dialogue with China, Japan and South Korea is the formation of an East Asian community. Leaders feel this is work-in-progress.

Both the Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers talked about such a community during their discussions with ASEAN and the dialogue partners, but leaders said they did not present definitive blueprints.

Mr Lee said:

“What they have is a vision and an idea of some long term desired objective, but the specific shape of what is to be developed, who to participate, what its mandate is going to be and how fits into the existing structures and organisations… those are things we have to think about and explore and gradually become more definite and clearer as our cooperation develops.”

more here

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get notified of our weekly selection of news

You May Also Like

ASEAN and the United States to Convene a Special Summit in Washington D.C. on 12-13 May 2022

ASEAN Leaders and President Joe Biden will meet to discuss ways and means to intensify cooperation in various areas, including COVID-19 response and global health security, climate change, sustainable development, maritime cooperation, human capital development, education and people-to-people ties

Emerging Market Trends: global cooperation increased in 2021

Following on from a year in which supply chains and international travel were severely disrupted, 2021 saw an increase in global cooperation, as institutions, businesses and governments alike sought to work together to find solutions to some of the world’s major challenges.

ASEAN, Japan to further deepen partnership

ASEAN appreciated Japan’s support to ASEAN efforts in handling challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for the last two years, including the establishment and operations of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases Centre.