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Asean optimism on Thai-Cambodian row

Posted by arnon_k On May - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Indonesia has remained positive that Thailand and Cambodia would resume its dialogue, either by themselves or with its presence, said its foreign minister at the sidelines of the Asean Civil Society Conference and the Asean People’s Forum.

The Asean chairman, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, told Bangkok Post that he has been having good communications with both Thai and Cambodian sides.

Mr Marty has faced recent embarrassment as the Indonesia-brokered border meeting between the two conflicting parties due to the Thai cancellation to show up at the General Border Committee and strong opposition to the term of reference for the deployment of Indonesian observers to the disputed areas.

“I’m not pessimistic about the conclusion of the TOR (despite the military pull-out) as I’ve tried to deal with the Thai government,” said the Indonesian foreign minister.

Asked if he believed there were unified voices among the Thai officials, he smiled and responded that the Thai media should know more than him.

Mr Marty said he looked forward to taking advantage of the Asean summit to have communications with the Thai and Cambodian counterparts.

“There’ll be a possibility for the two sides’ meeting but whether they need a trilateral among us (still unknown),” he said.

Diplomatic sources noted that the high global status of Indonesia has been recently tested as the U.S. has been publicly backing up India’s role in global peace-building and security-making, the area where Indonesia has been pitching itself globally.

The stalled Jakarta-chaired Thai-Cambodian dialogue has caused further blow to Indonesia stature, “Indonesia has succeeded initially in getting Asean face into the supportive efforts to resolve bilateral conflicts in February and alter on in hosting the Thai-Cambodian joint boundary committee,” diplomatic sources said.

However, Cambodia’s last week move to petition to the UN Security Council and to the International Court of Justice to intervene on the bilateral conflict has bypassed and undermined further role of Asean, and particularly Indonesia, in this protracted border conflicts, sources said.

Diplomats predicted that foreign ministers of the two sides would rather talk while Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen might want to meet the future leader after the forthcoming election.

Meanwhile Ngin Saorath, executive director, Cambodian Disabled Peoples’ Organisation, said it was disappointment that border clashes still continued onto its second week.

“I grew up during the Pol Pot regime, We were fed up with wars, there should be no further war, either internally or with neighbours,” said the 40-year-old disabled Saorath, a native of Ta Kaew province.

However, he did not believe the Thai border conflicts would give an edge to the Hun Sen administration, “After all, Prime Minister Hun Sen has already in power for a long uninterrupted period. He has already a good grip of power, so no need to wage war to strengthen his status,” said Mr Saorath.

He said whenever the border erupted, it was the people alongside the border in sufferings, “The governments should think more about how to free people from hunger and from want,” said the Phnom Penh-based activist.

Asean, China seek new era of teamwork

Posted by arnon_k On January - 19 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Asean and Chinese business leaders have expressed confidence in trade and investment prospects between the two sides and have set a combined target of 15 trillion baht by 2015.

The boost in cooperation is linked to the Asean-China free-trade agreement (ACFTA) and the development of transport links.

Trade between Asean and China surpassed 6 trillion baht for the first time in 2010, the year ACFTA took effect, representing an increase of 38% from the year earlier, said Ning-Ning Su, deputy secretary-general of the Asean-China Commercial meeting.

China is the fourth largest investor in Asean with a total expenditure of 345 billion baht, which is larger than the amount Asean investors spent on the Chinese mainland.

The Chinese government aims to increase trade and investment with Asean to 15 trillion baht by 2015.

“We expect this target will certainly be achieved as we can expand the value by about 20 percent to 25 percent a year,” Mr Ning-Ning said.

The two economies bring together 1.9 billion people with a combined gross national product of 180 trillion baht.

Rongxin Cao, president of Yunnan Logistics, said trade and tourism would benefit once a high-speed train linking China and Thailand was completed.

Varaporn Choeysa-ard, executive director of Thailand’s Board of Investment, said Chinese investments in Thailand totalled 95 billion baht with 120 projects during 2008 to the first half of last year spread over heavy and light industries.

Asean must promote intra-regional trade: Seminar

Posted by arnon_k On November - 22 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The 10-nation Asean should focus more on intra-regional trade to sustain the economic growth once the Asean Economic Community takes shape, suggests former deputy governor of the Bank of Thailand, Bandid Nijathaworn.
He noted that this would reduce the negative impact from the slower growth of industrialised countries in the longer term.
While the “industrialised economies are expected to slow down and Asia’s dependence on exports is less, we should turn to give importance to domestic demand, trade in the region,” he said in Asean Business Forum 2010 on Collaboration for Competitiveness. Expansion on market and financial cooperation should be emphasized, he added.