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ASEAN After the Bali Summit 2003: From Paralysis to New Life?

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image of European Journal of East Asian Studies

The question whether ASEAN has managed to recover from the Asian crisis has received much interest over the last years. The present contribution to the debate is made through an analysis of the prospects for change after the Bali Summit in 2003, with a focus on attempts to enforce stronger regional cohesion. In a joint effort to revive Southeast and East Asian regionalism, the ASEAN states proclaimed the goal to become an 'Economic and Security Community'. While the indicated reforms concentrate mainly on the economic and, secondarily, on the security sectors, the papers argues that matters of social cohesion are also a relevant factor in the making of a regional community. After a short introduction on post-crisis politics, the article examines the concrete measures proposed in the Bali Declaration and their potential to reform ASEAN. The main argument is that regional co-operation can only be successful if internal divides are mitigated and if a stronger normative consensus can be found so as to create a collective identity among the member states.


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