“Success does not lie in “Results” but in “Efforts”, being the best is not so important, doing the best is all that matters” This quote by an anonymous, strongly reflect on the determination of successfulness for ASEAN. In order to decide whether something is successful or not, we need to look into different factors including the asset that have to be put in, in order to achieve the aim. We have to look into our goals and look at the contribution of all parties being involved in our goal and lastly the change resulting from it. Marking the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, this has already shown that it was a long journey. In my opinion, I believed that ASEAN has achieved half of its goal and will continue to develop in the future.
In this essay, I will thoroughly show how ASEAN has made an impact to its member state, countries like Philippines, China, and Thailand will be used as a case point. I will also explain why ASEAN is considered as an successful organization that can evolve and grow bigger in the future. The efforts being put in and the change resulting from that can be seen through the three countries mentioned above will determine the journey of ASEAN. In order to make a conclusion about anything relating to ASEAN, we need to know what it is first. 1926 was the period when “The Association of Southeast Asian Nations” was formed.
It aims is to have stronger unity amongst asians country and to make the asian region more successful in terms of the economy as a whole. In another word, its aim is to promote the political and economic cooperation and regional stability amongst the ASEAN members. This can be seen through its motto which is “One vision, one identity, one community” ASEAN now consists of ten countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei. ASEAN countries have a population of nearly 640 million people and a combined GDP of $2.
57 trillion. The group has spurred economic integration, signing six free-trade agreements with other regional economies. The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, the Political-Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint approved at the summit level. Blueprint is a plan made by each of the pillar. This has shown that in ASEAN, there is an organized system, this will help to get a more specific results of each purprosal helping to achieve the aim set by ASEAN. In addition to that, every year following the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, ASEAN holds its Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) to which the Secretary of State is invited.
In 1994, ASEAN took the lead in establishing the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which now has 27 members and meets each year at the ministerial level just after the PMC. Members of the forum would be exchanging ideas and trying to find solutions for problem. Having a meeting every year is a good way to grow stronger as an organization. The ASEAN Charter is the turning point of the ASEAN journey. It is the step to the growth of ASEAN. The transformation of it was immense. According to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, It transform ASEAN from a loosely organised regional body to a rules-governed international organisation. During the times when ASEAN was formed, Malaysia was caught in the middle of cold war.
It was the time when the asian regions were devastatingly divided, that then results in the needs to ensure safeness, peace and security for the region. The treaty of Amity and Cooperation in the Southeast Asia, also known as the ‘peace treaty’ was created to possibly solve this issue and ensure peace amongst the Asian region. Safety of the region was the first aim before ASEAN economic growth.
How can there possibly be growth when there is no safeness? ASEAN has been making good progress in building the necessary foundation for a higher level of economic integration. ASEAN’s best option is to continue building upon this foundation. The fundamental principles of ASEAN are firstly, “mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations.” The second one is “The right of every state to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion” The third one is “Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another” The last two principals talks about “Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and effective cooperation among themselves” I believe that these principles is the key to why ASEAN is still going strong as an organization where there is peace. Looking in dept on the AEC blueprint, it was gradually developed over time. “Asean Economic Community” also known as “AEC” is fundamental to the growth of the economy for each countries in the ASEAN community. It has made an impact in many ways, including, the labour force, trade and the economy as a whole. AEC is a huge market and it is indeed the seventh largest market in the world.
The core element of AEC is to have the free flow of goods,services,investment and lastly free flow of skilled labour. In my opinion, AEC marks the success of ASEAN. One of the way in which AEC is done is through the creation of a single market in the economy. ASEAN has also established AFTA also known as “ASEAN Free trade Area” With AFTA and tariff being lowered, there will surely be an increase in exports and imports of goods and services amongst the southeast asia region, which would result in an increase in GDP, which an increase in GDP would mean that there is economic growth.
In country like the Philippines, ASEAN has made an impact to the country in ways like protecting the migrant workers by signing a “ASEAN consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Migrant Workers” This has made an impact to the country because this gives rights to workers where they will feel at peace and this also generates equality for them. Gender and nationality is not an obstacle for these workers to work anymore. There will be fair treatment. Violence and sexual harassment is one of the rising issue in the global world today, and this consensus protects workers from violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. It also involves visitation rights from family members and protection for the workers in many ways. Philippine statistics, meanwhile, show that there are around 212,435 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Southeast Asia. ASEAN contribution to solve this problem makes the life of these migrant workers easier.
ASEAN and china signed an agreement to form a “Free Trade Area” (FTA) It was beneficial for both the ASEAN countries and China as there were a tremendous increase in trades. According to the research done by university of Malaya, Trade between China and ASEAN has grown at a rapid pace. From 1995 to 2010, trade between the two regions had grown more than 20 per cent on average.
ASEAN’s total trade to China has increased from 2.2 per cent in 1995 to 12.3 per cent in 2010. China has become one of the major trade partners not only to ASEAN as a group but also to individual members of ASEAN. For instance, China is the fourth largest trade partner for Malaysia and Singapore and the third for Thailand. Having more trade in a country is important because it is the way citizens of each country earns. Incomes them to live their lives and support their family.
For Thailand, ASEAN has made an impact to the country in many ways. Such as an increase in the exports and imports of good and services between Thailand its neighbour. It has made an significant impact on the Thais tourism. There is an expansion of tourism and AEC helps to reduce the limitations of the tourist movement. This can be seen through the granting of visas. This visa allows tourist to enter all ASEAN countries. This mean people from other regions can enter Thailand without any obstacles.
According to Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, The tourism in Thailand will be more explicit to foreigner due to the fact that there is the creation of trans-national transportation routes which will indeed create new sightseeing attractions. The example given by him was the development of the three-way Pan-Asia railway, which is a railway system between Kunming city in China and other countries in ASEAN, connecting Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. This railway will link with the railway system in Thailand, and connect with Malaysia and Singapore; in other words, with an area that will develop the economy, known as the Economic Corridor Project.
The East-West Economic Corridor, North-South Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor are areas that will be developed to be new sightseeing attractions, especially on a frontier that has the strong potential to be a new transformation sightseeing attraction. Tourism plays an important role in a country’s development and ASEAN help to promote it. In conclusion, the three countries above has proven to the fact why ASEAN is considered to be successful in a way because it did improve the economy, stability and unity amongst the citizens of a country. It can be seen that there were an effort made by ASEAN by the creation of “AEC” OR “AFTA” or various consensus ASEAN has been beneficial to all of the member of its organization. The benefits varies differently. In my opinion, I think ASEAN created a “win-win situation” for each countries.
Talking about the future of ASEAN for Thailand and the world, I believed that ASEAN will still continue to developed with new plans to solve issues in the economy like corruption amongst the people. For workers migrating to Thailand, I believe that as ASEAN has develop a more efficient system for Thailand in the future, there will be a reduction in the number of people migrating in illegally and the jobs opportunity are equals amongst all the countries in the ASEAN. ASEAN at the moment might not be as efficient as the United Nation, but ASEAN did achieve its goal and has put in amazing effort to create peace in the Southeast Asia. In additionto that, ASEAN must also focus on providing enormous investment in infrastructure and human-capital development to ensure each country realizes its full potential.
Lastly, I believe that in the future ASEAN will have more members such as like Sri Lanka or India.REFERENCES: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/asean-association-southeast-asian-nationshttp://kriengsak.com/The%20ASEAN%20Community%20and%20Globalization%3A%20Their%20effect%20on%20Thai%20tourism%20(1)https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/what-is-asean-explainer/https://www.state.gov/p/eap/regional/asean/http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/overview/http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/conferences/dlsu-research-congress-proceedings/2017/RVREBM/RVREBM-I-002.pdf