In a move seen as underlining the importance of ASEAN to the US and in Asia, the US has appointed its first ambassador to ASEAN. David Carden, a former attorney, formally presented himself to the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta on Tuesday. The US is the second non-ASEAN country after Japan to permanently base an ambassador at ASEAN's Jakarta headquarters.
Report: ASEAN welcomes first US ambassador[AFP, 26 Apr 2011]
At a seminar on the changing balance of power in Asia held yesterday in Jakarta, ASEAN chair Indonesia addressed the need to ensure that no one power dominated the region. Indonesia proposes the maintenance of a ‘dynamic equilibrium’ in the region, where countries could engage peacefully with each other.
In order to boost ASEAN’s role in Asia and beyond, Indonesia has set three priorities in developing the role of ASEAN as a global problem-solving grouping. First, to make significant progress in the development of an ASEAN community; second, to ensure that the "regional architecture and environment remained conducive to the pursuit of development in the region"; and third, to chart a post-2015 ASEAN vision.
Report: ASEAN poised for skilful maneuvering [The Jakarta Post, 27 Apr 2011]
However, Indonesia Vice-President Boediono admitted that “mutual suspicions continue to characterise relations among key powers in Asia”.
The recent renewal of the Thai-Cambodian territorial dispute is among the difficult issues that confront ASEAN in its bid for regional cohesiveness. In spite of Indonesia’s efforts to mediate a ceasefire, fighting resumed on Friday and further peace talks have been cancelled.
Report: Talks cancelled as Thailand-Cambodia clashes continue [BBC, 27 Apr 2011]
Op-ed: ASEAN’s credibility at stake by Rizal Sukma [The Jakarta Post, 26 Apr 2011]