Episode 30: Forwarding the Democratic Agenda in Asia


Episode #030
(33:58 min 31.1MB)
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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Ph.D., speaks on the evolution of ASEAN 41 years ago out of a shared vision for peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region. He describes how it gave rise to other architectures of cooperation such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asia-Europe Meeting. These have led to greater collaboration with the international community.

However in the face of growing global competition from China and India, ASEAN has to become more relevant. It has thus created a charter to respond to the challenges of the region. He explains that this will give ASEAN a legal personality and consolidate the collection of diverse countries into a successful community. Dr. Pitsuwan admits that the charter could be better in allowing more participation and promotion of human rights. He agrees that we expect more from ASEAN, but argues that this is a start. The price of democracy and liberal values in the region is vigilance and support for an existing structure. In order for ASEAN to deliver the values of individual freedom, rule of law and good governance, it has to be strong and significant. The first step is to ratify the charter.

Six countries have already endorsed the charter. The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar are still reviewing it.

The music is provided by Dieter Bachmann.

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