Myanmar is hosting and chairing the 24th meeting of ASEAN Summit. But tensions on territorial disputes in the South China Sea– threaten to cloud Myanmar’s hopes of gaining international prestige. Andy Saputra reports from the capital, Naypyidaw.
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From once perceived as an isolated country, Myanmar has come a long way in reforming its political situation. And this, the 24th ASEAN summit, that starts with the meeting of the member country’s foreign ministers is Myanmar’s first chance to show that it is ready to fully participate in the association of nations, that is also one of its’ fierce supporter. The country is also hoping to use the momentum of this chairmanship to further reforms in the country.
Ye HtutMyanmar, presidential spokesperson, says: “We have the more confident in our process (to reform) now, all the, even the different stakeholders are working to fulfil the ASEAN Summit chairmanship. So we want to bring this cooperation to the future reform process.”
But this historic moment is potentially clouded by the events that transpired here–the South China Sea. Where tensions are running high after China, Vietnam and the Philippines were involved in a series of serious incidents at the disputed territory.
Marty Natalegawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister, says: “a quite substantive part of our discussion was on the South China Sea but as I said before not reflecting division, on the contrary reflecting our sense of common purpose. I think I said ministers were united in one thing to respond collectively to the recent developments, expressing their concern and calling for exercise of restraint”
With the deadline of ASEAN Community is looming in 2015, the association of nations will have to find a delicate balance to address the potentially divisive issues with the need to move forward with its integration plan.
For more on the 2014 ASEAN Summit, CCTV’s Asieh Namdar is joined via Skype by Gregory Poling, fellow for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss the issue.