Sunday, November 1, 2009

ASEAN Seeks To Establish EU-Like Asian Grouping

The summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with six dialogue partners (China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand), which was host by Thailand has recently been concluded. Following the summit, there is a question as to how much successful the summit has become.
Agreement Signed
To get a clearer picture of the success of the summit, I would like to sum up the agreements reached during the summit as following:
1. China agreed to grant $10,000 for the promotion of investments between China and ASEAN. It also agreed to provide a soft loan worth $15,000 for ASEAN countries for the developments of basic infrastructures and trades. The loan will be spent for building roads to link ASEAN nations to China to facilitate trades, transportations and traveling among citizens of these countries.
2. UNESCO estimated that it requires an investment worth $14,000 to build roads to link all Asian countries.
3. The ASEAN reached an agreement with the six dialogue partners to establish a free trade area among them. They also agreed to unite Asian countries into a union because Asia has over 3.3 billion citizens and its total trade value is higher than $14 trillion. And all Asian countries have combined foreign reserves of $39 billion.
4. The ASEAN agreed with three dialogue partners (China, Japan and South Korea) to set up a multilateral fund under the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CHIM).
Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization
The plan is known under the initial of CHIM. The fund will have $120,000 for providing help to Asian countries, which are affected by liquidity crunch. The fund will begin its operation late 2009.
What matters most about these four points is their possibility. And when these points materialize, Asia will receive huge benefits. It is a new and joyful era because China and Japan, which are super economic powers, can cooperate to turn Asia into a powerful grouping with enough power to bargain with the super-power European Union and the United States for the first time.
Influence of Western Countries
If everything is carried out smoothly as planned, Asia will no longer have to be under influence of western countries. Asian countries will no longer have to borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. And when the Asian grouping is developed up to a point, Asia may have the same nature with the EU.
That is, there will be no longer borders dividing citizens of Asian countries. Asian people will be able to travel across their countries without visa and they will use the same currency like the euro. The investment funds, production bases, work forces and raw materials will be moved among the Asian countries freely. Asian countries will also use the same or similar customs codes.
Economic and Other Cooperation
And consequences of such grouping will also be very important. The Asian countries will help one another to develop technologies and upgrade their education and skilled labors. They will cooperate on heath care services and exchange culture. Such cooperation will turn Asian into a strong region with stable economy. Their social system will get developed with good standard and this will make it hard for westerners or any group to try to destroy the Asian societies.
However, before Asia can rise to be a powerful grouping like the European Union (EU), each and all Asian countries must first do away with their weak points and must create their strong points in all respects -- political, economic, and social respects.
In particular, leaders of Asian countries must be outstanding with their ability and they must win trust from people both inside and outside their countries. They must not be leaders who have no tangible achievements but still boast that they have become successful and that they enjoy working in politics.

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