Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of the European Union Centre in Singapore and Senior Research Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, recently published an article “Will troubled waters spoil ASEAN’s celebrations?” in Europe’s World, an independent Europe-wide policy journal.
The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) celebrates its 50th birthday on 8 August 2017. It should be a joyous occasion, were it not for the profound uncertainties brought about by the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States. Trump, through his ‘Twitter diplomacy’, his outbursts and his appointments of ‘hawks’ to defence and trade positions in his cabinet, has signalled major changes in US foreign policy. His threat to slap tariffs on Chinese goods and launch a trade war would have disastrous consequences for the region.
As ASEAN gears up for its golden jubilee it is crucial to reflect on the challenges, to manage future risks and prepare for uncertainties. A united and cohesive ASEAN is vital if it is to help its member states navigate its way through the choppy waters and storms ahead, and to survive for another 50 years.
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