What does it take to join ASEAN?
Institute, ISEAS Yusof Ishak | June 2017
On May 16, while attending the Belt and Road Forum in China, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that Turkey and Mongolia were interested to be part of the Association of Southeast Asian Studies (ASEAN), and had requested the Philippines – as ASEAN Chair for 2017 – to ‘sponsor their entry’. Mr Duterte shared that he had responded positively to these requests. He raised the matter with at least one ASEAN counterpart, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who inquired on the appropriateness of the request given the geographical disconnect of the two countries with the region. Daw Suu essentially raised the basic question of Turkey’s and Mongolia’s assertion as constituents of Southeast Asia, to which Mr Duterte responded with an unequivocal, “I would say that they are”. The news reports do not clarify whether Turkey and Mongolia indeed sought to be members of ASEAN. The ASEAN Secretariat’s Director for Community Affairs has been quoted as confirming that neither has applied to be considered as such. But as both countries have put in bids to be ASEAN Dialogue Partners, this may well have been the aim of their request to Mr Duterte. In fact, Turkey is seeking sectoral partnership as a first step. Nevertheless, the manner in which the requests were made, received, and communicated, merits an examination of what constitutes ASEAN membership, and the existing venues for non-Southeast Asian states to pursue closer relations with ASEAN.
CitationInstitute, ISEAS Yusof Ishak. 2017. What does it take to join ASEAN?. © ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/7100.
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