Indonesia is hosting the 43rd ASEAN Summit from today until September 7. Leaders from the 10-member association and several ASEAN
Indonesia is hosting the 43rd ASEAN Summit from today until September 7.
Leaders from the 10-member association and several ASEAN partners will discuss regional issues and prospects for stronger economic integration. The U.S. will be represented by Vice President Kamala Harris.
The ASEAN Summit will be followed by the East Asia Summit, also in Jakarta. The East Asia Summit brings ASEAN countries together with China, Russia, the U.S., India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. However, both are likely to be overshadowed by the G20 Summit in India, on September 9-10.
While ASEAN’s economic power has grown in recent years, its members remain deeply divided. Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos retain strong ties to Beijing, while Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam are increasingly drawn to Washington. Consequently, ASEAN has been incapable of effectively challenging Chinese claims in the South China Sea, which directly affect Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Attempts by ASEAN to confront the military junta in Myanmar and push it to return to democratic rule have also failed.
While Myanmar and Cambodia have become fully-fletched autocracies in recent years, democratic decline can also be observed in Indonesia and Thailand. Thus, significant resolutions to existing geopolitical issues are an unlikely result of this summit, which concludes Indonesia’s chairmanship. Afterwards, the rotating chair will pass from ASEAN’s largest member to its smallest and poorest, Laos. Laos, which owes around half of its public debt to China, will also be unwilling to confront Beijing over its territorial claims in the region.