Abhisit Urges Closer ASEAN Integration
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 20th December, 2009
The Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has been busy this week at the climate conference in Copenhagen and like many leaders of developing countries, he has expressed disappointment at the low-level outcome. But not all his criticism or advice has been targetted at the United States and other industrialised nations, or even China. He has stressed that the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) really needs to press ahead with regional integration more decisively if South East Asia is not only going to protect the environment but also cope adequately with the challenges of the post-economic crisis world. Of course, the task is made more complicated by the fact that ASEAN, unlike the European Union, has no economic or political homogeneity, grouping everything from mature democracies to a military dictatorship, an absolute monarchy and Communist states. Nonetheless, in an increasingly regionalised world, South East Asia needs to get its act together if it is to prosper and compete, something the Oxford-educated Thai Prime Minister clearly understands.