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  • In February 2016, the United States hosted its first ever Summit for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN

  • The meeting was part of President Obama’s efforts to strengthen economic and security ties with Southeast Asia.

  • The US’s interest in ASEAN has grown significantly in recent years as tensions rise over the highly disputed South China Sea

  • So, what is ASEAN and why is it important for Southeast Asia?

  • Well, ASEAN is a political and economic alliance of 10 countries.

  • The group’s five original member states - Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand

  • founded ASEAN in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war.

  • At the time, many Southeast Asian governments were at war with their respective communist-led guerilla groups,

  • and leaders became increasingly concerned over the region’s political vulnerability.

  • So, they formed an alliance to not only secure the region against the threat of communism,

  • but to give Southeast Asia a cohesive voice on Cold War issues .

  • Since the fall of the Soviet Union, ASEAN has shifted its focus to international trade,

  • border security and collaboration with neighboring countries like China and South Korea.

  • For instance, member state’s GDPs range anywhere from roughly $11 to roughly $888

  • billion dollars, but collectively their GDP is about $2.5 trillion dollars,

  • rivaling that of France and the United Kingdom.

  • When it comes to military strength, each ASEAN member state is relatively powerless on its own.

  • Although ASEAN has not fully integrated its military, they have already begun to collaborate on regional security threats,

  • like North Korea’s nuclear program and the territorial dispute over South China sea.

  • For decades, China has tried to take ownership of much of this area, despite conflicting

  • claims from several member states

  • ASEAN has repeatedly attempted to resolve the issue, but has thus far failed.

  • The South China Sea conflict has jeopardized diplomatic relations between member states,

  • as several are heavily influenced by China.

  • ASEAN’s lack of coherence on the issue has led to criticism of the group’s supposedly weak leadership and disjointed priorities.

  • Despite these differences of opinion over the the South China Sea, however,

  • ASEAN is striving to create a distinctSoutheast Asian identityby 2020.

  • Meaning that citizens belonging to these member states would identify themselves not by their nationality,

  • but by calling themselves ASEAN.

  • So how important is ASEAN? Well this powerful economic alliance, coupled with Southeast Asia’s growing consumer base,

  • has attracted interest from all over the world including the United States.

  • When President Obama took office in 2009, the US made a strategic pivot to strengthen relations with Asia,

  • and even hosting ASEAN’s bi-annual summit on US soil. And as China continues to expand its military

  • and territorial claims, a united Southeast Asian front is more critical than it's ever been before.

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In February 2016, the United States hosted its first ever Summit for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN

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ASEANとは何か、なぜ東南アジアにとって重要なのか? (What Is ASEAN And Why Is It Important For Southeast Asia?)

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    richardwang に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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