Economic co-operation in Asia?
ASEAN was established in 1967 in Bangkok, to counter communism and remain neutral with regards to the Cold War. This creation was also intended to increase the growth and development of each country socially, culturally, administrative and their scientific ability, to bring peace and stability, using a "mutual assistance" strategy. ASEAN began in the 80's to be considered as a trading partner with the major powers.
In 1989, the Economic Cooperation Asia-Pacific was created (ASEAN, EU, Japan, Canada and New Zealand). In 1991 the Free Trade Area ASEAN, AFTA, was created under the leadership of Thailand. AFTA's aim was to increase investment in the region, and accelerate the liberalization of their economies. But this agreement was not signed until 2002, because of the negotiations, and the Asian financial crisis of 1997, which reduced tariff barriers.
Today, ASEAN wants to look like the European Union to improve its economy, and form a political union. Unfortunately, unlike the EU, relations between neighbors are pretty hectic. These relations were already strained in the 60's, because of border problems. One of the main issues of the ASEAN security, this has been exacerbated by the September 11th 2001 attacks.
Indeed, Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar in May and killed between 70,000 and 130,000 people. Only member countries of ASEAN were able to send international aid to the people of this country.
Tags: economic cooperation in Asia, ASEAN,