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ASEAN to integrate community by 2015

06-01-2011 15:13 BJT

ASEAN plans to forge an integrated community by 2015, but with a number of problems yet to be tackled, how prepared will the association really be? To find out, our correspondent Andy Saputra speaks with the bloc's chairman, Marty Natalegawa, on the sidelines of the ISIS Asia-Pacific Roundtable in Malaysia.

ASEAN member countries are hoping that their aspiration to play a global role is realized by the creation of the ASEAN Community by 2015. ASEAN community, it is an integration of 10 nations in political, economic, and socio-cultural sectors, and it is seen as an important landmark for the arrival of a new Southeast Asian power in global stage.

Marty Natalegawa, ASEAN chairman, said, "We have become one of the, this engine for economic recovery. Nowadays the locomotive for economic development and economic dynamism in the world is no longer confined to certain capitals. ASEAN, as a collective entity, has become one of them, and we are one of the most accepted parties in our region, so I think the future looks quite promising. But it is not a given. We must assert that role. It won't drop on our lap just like that."

With 4 years remaining, a lot more still needs to be done. One of the main concerns is the competitiveness of its labor force. That's why training centers, like this one in Indonesia, will play an important role to ensure the migrant workers from the ASEAN can compete with each other and beyond.

Marty Natalegawa said, "There must be national preparations anchoring the ASEAN-wide community, but certainly if you look at beyond ASEAN, we do not have the option of opting out of globalization. If ASEAN does not get its act together, then it will become less competitive, less attractive, compared to other regions. So it is a must that ASEAN continues to elevate the state of its cooperation."

Regional security is also a major concern. Earlier this year, a bloody border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, both an ASEAN member, has challenged ASEAN's unity.

Marty Natalegawa said, "One must not lose sight of the fact that, during its existence since 1967, despite the obvious challenges that it still has, ASEAN has managed to manage conflict situations in our region, but we need to raise our expectations. It is not enough for ASEAN to provide climate conducive for conflict situations to be avoided, but we must also provide the means to actually solve the problems."

Although ASEAN has certainly come a long way, creating a truly united region is an enormous task, and it is an uphill battle for the member countries to achieve their dream. Andy Saputra, CCTV, Kuala Lumpur."


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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