JAKARTA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) stands at a defining moment. Its member states are constantly being evaluated for their economic potential and desirability as a market for investments, goods, and services. At the same time, their effort to forge a community free from external intervention is shaping a new regional order based on common security and shared prosperity.
In geopolitical terms, ASEAN is well-placed to be an acceptable and equal partner to many larger, more powerful economies, such as China, India, Japan, Australia, and South Korea – a part of the world that, for the first time, is leading a global recovery. ASEAN has also contributed to building one of the most dynamic economic-integration platforms in the world, and now acts as a de facto regional hub of wider economic cooperation and integration.