4th Lecture - Building Regional Architecture with Ambassador Yamada Takio
Date: Wednesday, 13 October 2021
Time: 08.00 - 10.00 GMT+7
Platform: Zoom Meetings & Youtube Livestream
Speaker: H.E. Yamada Takio, Ambassador of Japan to Vietnam
Moderator: Dr. Viet Tuan Nguyen, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam
What is actually commendable and I personally very highly admire is ASEAN was not only completing its consolidation, but it also undertook the initiative in the late 90s to engage East Asian major powers in ASEAN-related forums. ASEAN adopted the principle of “openness, transparency, and inclusiveness.” And by engaging all those big powers of the region, ASEAN achieved the acceptance of “ASEAN centrality” by all major powers.
Can ASEAN continue to be a key regional architecture under the major power competition in today’s Indo-Pacific? My answer is yes, it is very much possible basically for two reasons:
For the major powers of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN-related frameworks provide precious opportunities for dialogue and engagement among major players. And the value of such opportunity is getting bigger and bigger for all the countries in the region, especially because of the intensifying competition.
Two, for ASEAN member countries, intensifying competition among major powers in the Indo-Pacific is a reminder of the situation of Southeast Asia in the 60s, when ASEAN was created by the founding fathers, to prevent “Balkanization.”
ASEAN unity is getting more and more important. It’s not just a matter for ASEAN. ASEAN unity is important not only for ASEAN, but also for us, for the region, for the Indo-Pacific as a whole. But I’d like to point out that ASEAN could try to enhance its value and relevance farther to survive the tough new era of the Indo-Pacific. Factually, it’s clear that there is a competition with other regional frameworks. Of course, you have taken notice of a lot of developments; QUAD, AUKUS, RCEP, CPTPP, and so on. Many frameworks are fast developing. I expect and hope that ASEAN will take proactive roles in major issues of East Asia in the Indo-Pacific.