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NEWS-EDS-More to Follow Hke120812 Y
- Subject: NEWS-EDS-More to Follow Hke120812 Y
- From: BurmaJapan@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 09 Dec 1997 12:22:00
EDS-More to Follow Hke120812 Yearender: 1997, Year of Cooperation
by Wu Dingbao
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec. 8) XINHUA - For
the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN), the outgoing year of
1997 is a year of cooperation with many
events worth being recorded in its history
for both sweet and bitter memories.
In the year when ASEAN celebrated its
30th anniversary, the first and foremost
sweet memorable event was the
expansion of the regional grouping.
At the 30th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
(AMM) held in Malaysia in July, Laos and
Myanmar were admitted into the fold of
ASEAN which also groups Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
On the issue of Myanmar's admission,
ASEAN faced with pressure from certain
Western countries. But by making a right
decision to admit Myanmar against the
pressure, ASEAN showed its
independence and maturity in dealing with
its own regional issues.
The expansion put ASEAN, now with a
population of 480 million and gross
domestic product of 711 billion U.S.
dollars, in a better position to contribute to
regional peace and stability.
With Laos and Myanmar in, ASEAN was
left with only one step ahead toward
realizing the vision of a united Southeast
Asia or ASEAN-10, that is, to embrace all
the countries in the dynamic region.
Cambodia's ASEAN membership,
together with that of Laos and Myanmar,
was initially okayed by ASEAN foreign
ministers at their first special meeting here
on May 31 as a mark to commemorate the
30th anniversary of ASEAN, but it was
deferred at the second special meeting of
the foreign ministers on July 10 in the
wake of sudden changes in the situation in
ASEAN is still making efforts to welcome
Cambodia to the family and most ASEAN
leaders pledged that the admission of
Cambodia was just a matter of time.
Unfortunately, the delight of ASEAN in
celebrating its 30th anniversary with an
enlarged membership went side by side
with the unexpected bitter experience that
some members saw their currencies
depreciated over the past few months.
Weaknesses in the currencies of some
ASEAN economies have been
accompanied by volatility and sharp
declines in regional stock markets.
The instability emerged first in early July
when Thailand allowed its baht to have a
"managed" float in the wake of speculative
attacks on the currency in mid-May, and
then spread to neighboring economies
such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines and Singapore, notably all
founding members of ASEAN, resulting in
a currency crisis in the region. (More)
=12080419 08/12/97 04:23 GMT