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Questions raised about Asean’s practicality

Feb 17. 2017
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By Wasamon Audjarint
The Nation

With Asean set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, doubt still exists over the practicality of an organisation which adheres to a principle of non-interference among its member states.

Yet, experts on Friday stated Asean’s centrality could propel it forwards amid regional and global challenges.

“There is no specific definition to centrality. It can mean a range of things – from being a facilitator to a convenor of meetings,” said Tang Siew Mun, head of Asean Studies Centre in Singapore. “Still, it can be at least noted that it’s about having collective roles [among member states] with our neighbours and also major powers.”

Tang was speaking at a forum titled “Reporting Asean: Media Forum 2017” held by the Probe Media Foundation Inc, where speakers discussed Asean maturity as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

At the forum, Asean was also praised for its non-interference stance, a policy that was said to result in respectful talks among member states, and its progressive economic cooperation – described as the most prominent development among the three pillars of the Asean community.

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