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Vestergaard Knudsen, Ulrik
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
DIIS Working Paper 2003:22
Abstract (Translated): 
The region of Southeast Asia is faced with a complex set of challenges stemming from political, economic and religious developments at the national, regional and global level. This paper sets out to examine trade-, foreign- and security policy implications of the issues confronting the region. In ASEAN, the Southeast Asian countries are continuing their ambitious attempts at further integration. Plans outlining deeper security and economic communities have been adopted. However, huge differences in political systems, economic development and ethnic/religious structures are hampering prospects of closer cooperation. The highly controversial conflict case of Burma/Myanmar is testing the much adhered-to principle of non-interference and at the same time complicating relations with external powers. Among these, the United States and China are dramatically strengthening their interests in the region. American influence is not least manifesting itself in light of the war against terrorism, which the region is adapting to in different ways and at different speeds. By contrast, the European Union does not seem to answer Southeast Asian calls for further engagement. A flurry of bilateral and regional trade agreements is another prominent feature of the economic landscape of the region. This is to a certain degree a reflex ion of impatience with trade liberalization in the WTO and within ASEAN itself. Structures of economic cooperation are under rapid alteration in Southeast Asia. The paper analyses the above-mentioned developments with a view to assessing the prospects of future stability, economic development and integration in and among ASEAN countries. It is concluded that although the scope for increased economic benefit and political harmonization through ASEAN integration alone is limited, the organization could still prove useful as a common regional point of reference in tackling more important policy determinants at national and global level.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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