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Many of us Filipinos believed that China was bluffing when it sent ships and sea patrols to the contested islands in the Spratlys. Now, it seems China is determined to do everything to take control of the islands and surrounding waters which the Philippines has laid claim to.
The Foreign Ministers Retreat held in Burma (Myanmar), which ended last Jan. 17, was the first of a series of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meetings under Burma’s Asean chairmanship. This meeting was important because it discussed China’s imposition of a controversial fisheries law that requires all foreign vessels to first seek approval from Chinese authorities before they fish or do survey activities in the disputed islands/seas China has laid claim to.
By Butch Hernandez
The quest for education quality in fact propels all education reform initiatives. That being said, educators will be the first to say that arriving at a universal definition of education quality is actually more elusive than, say, achieving specific reform goals such as functional literacy at Grade 3, or the alignment of higher education competencies [...]
At the just-concluded leaders’ summit in Tokyo to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a specter haunted the proceedings. China was not a participant, but it was a presence just the same. For the Philippines and for some other countries, this ghostly presence was one more argument for Japan’s role as regional counterweight.
By Kevin H.R. Villanueva
The inexorable rise of China to the status of a superpower holds out a unique opportunity for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to follow its quest in building a “rules-based community.” Why is this so? I shall make my argument in three moves.
By Riza Bernabe
With the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) barely two years away, leaders in the region are busy trying to implement economic policies that will put into operation Asean’s vision of a common regional market. Asean aspires to become a single market by 2015, where goods, services and investments can freely flow among its 10 member-countries. It aims to become a vital segment in the global supply chain.
The high-profile summits held this week in Bali and then in Bandar Seri Begawan were described in many media reports in stark, dualistic terms—an absent United States, a rising China. In fact, the leaders’ meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Indonesia and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its regional partners in Brunei showed that a multipolar world was truly emerging. But the world’s two biggest economies and military powers dominated the discussion.
By Mahar Mangahas
Our nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have been blooming for a long, long time.
By Zelda Soriano
It’s been a bad few weeks for the oceans of Southeast Asia, with three separate petrochemical spills polluting our waters, endangering biodiversity and livelihoods.
What a difference a year—or, more to the point, a new host—makes. At around this time last year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reeled from an unexpected scandal: the failure for the first time to issue a joint communiqué after a leaders’ summit. China had pressured host Cambodia, its close ally, not to allow any mention of the South China Sea disputes in the traditional closing statement; both the Philippines and Vietnam vigorously objected, but in the end Cambodia chose to side, not with its Asean partners, but with China.
By Conrado de Quiros
I loved that picture of the Asean foreign ministers clasping one another’s hands in solidarity that came out last weekend. The occasion was their meeting in Brunei last week. The people in the picture included Malaysia’s Anifah Aman, the Philippines’ Albert del Rosario, Singapore’s Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Thailand’s Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Vietnam’s Pham Binh Minh.
China is currently experiencing an economic slowdown. It relies on exports, but sadly the global demand for its products is declining. Meanwhile, property prices in China are soaring, and its smokestack industries have polluted its air. We recall that sometime ago news broke out that infant milk products made in China were laced with poison and killed many babies. It is feared that those who survived might have contracted various physical defects. (Here in the Philippines, some China products were pulled out after being found to contain or to be contaminated with a high level of toxicity.)