Dynamo or Dynamite?
Cambodia's Future in Asean
Edited By Kao Kim Hourn & Jeffrey A. Kaplan
ASEAN Academic Press
245 pages, 5 5/8" x 8 3/4"
The vision of a united Southeast Asia has been one of the pillars of Asean since
its founding in 1967. But it was only with the end of the Cold War when divisions
between Asean and the countries in the Mekong region - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar
and Vietnam - began to mend that the dream of an Asean-10 began materializing.
However, that dream remains unfulfilled.
Vietnam joined Asean in 1995, and 1997 saw the admission of Laos and Myanmar,
while sudden, dramatic events in Cambodia prompted Asean to delay its admission.
Once again, Cambodia had become a contentious issue amongst Asean member states
and the larger international community. Questions were raised as to how to deal
with its volatility and how to best contribute to its long-term stability. Attention
quickly turned to Cambodia's national election in July 1998.
At the same time, Asean struggled to find a way to remain constructively engaged
without compromising its hallowed principle of non-intervention in the internal
affairs of member states. Political contacts were initiated to discuss conditions
necessary for a free, fair and credible election, while technical assistance
by Asean on Cambodia's preparations for membership quietly resumed. Asean is
now close to embracing all of Southeast Asia with Cambodia's impending membership
at the end of 1998.
By reviewing where Asean has been and where it is going and the benefits Cambodia
will stand to gain from its involvement with Asean, Southeast Asia now stand
at a crucial juncture: can all ten of its nations come together and act in concert
for the collective good?
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