At the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on Aug 14, the 10 countries of Asean made a timely show of unity by issuing an assertive joint communiqué in the face of rising pressure in the Asia Pacific. This is a surprising and encouraging resurgence of confidence in the Asean vision at time when tensions between the great powers of China and the United States threaten to divide the region.
From left are Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Philippines' Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario and Myanmar's Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin in a group photo during the Asean-Australia ministerial meeting at the Myanmar International Convention Centre. (Reuters photo)
The stability and prosperity of Asean countries and their ability to resist disruptions at the hands of great powers in the region is far greater when they are united. The middle powers of Asia Pacific, such as Australia and South Korea, must now focus on actively reengaging with Asean to maintain this revived momentum of unity.
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