ad info

 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


Divining the way forward for Southeast Asia's tough issues

asia in the new millennium
Mapping the Future The future wealth and size of Asian nations

The 21st Century By Arthur C. Clarke

Asia Trends 2000 The promises and perils of one wired world

The Microchip Silicon will get into everything
The Power As the region prospers, chances for conflict may become greater
Essay by Fidel Ramos Ending repression was easy; now we must defend freedom
The Dynasty It's here to stay
The Classes Many more Asians may escape poverty
The People Democracy in Asia will become increasingly deep-rooted
Essay by Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo Shifts to new paradigms may include the "common good" and spirituality
The Mind Classrooms of the future will be virtually unrecognizable
Essay by Stan Shih The challenge of creating markets in a competitive world
The Body Science will soon deliver miracle cures, designer babies and new dilemmas
The Soul Asia seeks a new cultural identity
Essay by the Dalai Lama Balancing material progress with inner development to achieve true success
The Food Are the pushers of genetically modified edibles out to lunch?
The Vacation Inner and outer space are the destinations of the future
The Design Asia still has a place in the shape of things to come
The Metropolis Sweeping global changes are reshaping urban destinies
The Earth Environmental awareness is growing
The Jobs New and reinvented careers will fire the imagination
The Money The cashless society is on the way
The Investor Globalization and the Net will empower future shareholders and savers
The Sexes Democracy, capitalism and the Internet can lift women to the top
Essay by Marina Mahathir In Malaysia, we should change the way society looks at their roles
The Family The family promises to be much different than it is today
The Economy New ways of working call for new ways of thinking
Essay by Donald Tsang Financial well-being is a responsibility for each nation and the world
The Network The connection will go much deeper

The Asiaweek Round Table on ASEAN in 2020

Celebrations Asia is gearing up

Celebrities How some of the region's most visible personalities intend to welcome the New Year

Millenium Dictionary From pop anthems to dawn sites and midnight nuptials, a guide to 2000

They're called the "second track": think-tank types backstopping the ministers at meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Officially, they are the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies, or in the grouping's acronym-speak, ASEAN-ISIS. Of course, they're smart and super-informed, perfect for divining the future of ASEAN around a discussion table. So last month Asiaweek got together with six think-tank chiefs: Hadi Soesastro and Jusuf Wanandi, directors of Indonesia's Center for Strategic and International Studies; Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs and a nominated MP; and politics professor Carolina Hernandez, founding president of the Philippines' Institute for Strategic and Development Studies. Also at the two-hour discussion in Singapore's Sheraton were Suchit Bunbongkarn, executive board chairperson and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, and Mohamed Jawhar Hassan, director-general of Malaysia's Institute of Strategic and International Studies. Excerpts of the animated exchange moderated by Assistant Managing Editor Ricardo Saludo:


Hernandez: When you look at security in a broader context, the transformations of societies in Southeast and Northeast Asia will further contribute to the complication of various issues. An increasing number of Taiwanese would like to see their country apart and separate from China. This is going to intensify, in my view, and could also have an impact on how China will look at other issues in the region, including the South China Sea. Being from the Philippines, I tend to look at China as a real problem for us in the region. It's a country that has not had enough interaction with the rest of the region in a cooperative way. It's also a country that sees itself as having been disadvantaged by relations with big powers in the past century and into this century. So, I think, what it will want to do is to narrow [the gap between] that reality and their perception of themselves as a great power.

Wanandi: One of the most critical factors for the longer term is, of course, how the United States-China relationship is going to turn out. What is critical is that these two can come to some kind of modus vivendi or cooperation. Otherwise, if we have to choose between those two powers, at this stage, it will be a very, very difficult choice for us.

Tay: If we take the attitude that they [the Chinese] are the enemy, they will be. ASEAN must engage China fully, stand up when it's pushed, but talk reasonably when they seem to do so. Everyone has emphasized China-U.S. [relations] . . . but until there is some sort of historic reconciliation between Japan and China, there will always be tensions.

Jawhar: Focusing on Southeast Asia, I think it is going to be generally a peaceful region - generally. But where can the problems come from? First, depending on what we understand by security, for the immediate future as well as into the longer term, our greatest security problem will be our economics - the problem of poverty, which will also impact on security. Then, of course, inequality of incomes, of opportunities. Also the gap between the richer and the poorer countries. Second, our problem will be managing political change. That doesn't mean security problems will be greatest only in the least democratically developed countries. The more democratically developed countries want further democracy. If they manage it poorly, they will also have security crises. Turning to external [security], if you are thinking 10, 20 years, bilateral as well as regional, our problem would be managing and resolving as far as possible the territorial disputes on land and sea. Finally, there's the challenge and opportunity of China.

Soesastro: Perhaps the last issue on security is whether the region, in the next 10 to 15 years or so, can develop a kind of regional security structure. We have China in this region, Japan and the United States. We need to have a structure in which we can bring them in [and] incorporate the sources of uncertainty within the group.

Suchit: To what extent can ASEAN work together to enhance military security? We seem to rely more on the U.S. as the balancing power in the region. But we are not very sure in the next 10, 15 years what will be the role of the U.S. Look at Kosovo: the U.S. seems to put the issue of human rights above national sovereignty. If that is so, to what extent will the U.S. use this to force countries in the region on human rights issues, democratization and so on? At the same time, we are not willing to work together in ASEAN, [in terms of] closer cooperation in the military sphere.

Hernandez: One of the critical problems is the absence of a common perception about security. Unless we address this, I don't think we will see greater cooperation in the military field. The other hurdle is changing the mindset. ASEAN was formed to isolate the region from great-power rivalry. Our leaders took great pains to explain to the world that we don't intend to be a traditional military alliance.

Tay: In the next 20 years, if the ARF [ASEAN Regional Forum] gets its act together and we do move toward preventive diplomacy and, after that, to dispute resolution, these are worthwhile contributions to the regional architecture and tools to sustain peace, particularly for our region. I also hesitate to think about hard security cooperation in a much thicker, more detailed way. Additionally, if you look at the Cold War and Europe, it was clear who the enemy was. I'm afraid that if we in the next 20 years try to recreate that, the tendency will be to look at China as the enemy and the U.S. on our side, as it is in NATO. I'm not sure that's a scenario any of us would want. So there are good reasons to go faster, if possible, on the soft security [moves] and slower, if necessary, on the hard security.

Jawhar: We must cooperate more not only with one another, but with countries outside our own region. This includes China. It must be very clear to friend and potential foe alike: ASEAN as well as its members are very constructive players for security in the region, but we will not go the way of military pacts. Instead (and I'm going now to Northeast Asia and Asia-Pacific), we should be a force for military moderation, of demilitarization, counter-proliferation, etc. We should be a force for reducing rather than enhancing arms.

Wanandi: It's not that we have to stop our [soft-security] approaches. The problem for me is whether that is adequate for the future. Is this whole Northeast Asian problem going to impact on us in a negative way and we cannot do very much? It's fine to say we have to continue this and that, but, first, the reality is that it [the diplomatic approach] is not happening, and, second, we are going to be much more aligned individually with the United States than before - just for security.

Hernandez: For ASEAN to be a force in the ARF, we've got to get our act together. And right now our act is individual; we are making separate agreements with the major powers, and this is what I am personally afraid of. If we do this, then ASEAN cannot act as a force, because among ourselves we cannot even agree. So we need to be more proactive, we need to cooperate more.

Next page

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.