Commentary 2016/36, 26 July 2016
ASEAN foreign ministers will meet in Vientiane from 23-26 July 2016 for the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), as well as to participate in other related meetings such as the Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) with the Dialogue Partners, East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
Commentary 2016/32, 13 July 2016
As one of the main parties to the South China Sea dispute, Vietnam stands to benefit significantly from the final award issued by the arbitral tribunal on the Philippines’ case against China. Indeed, in an official statement issued on 12 July 2016, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the ruling, adding that Hanoi would make a separate statement on the content of the award.
Yesterday’s unanimous ruling by the Arbitration Tribunal comprehensively upholds the case filed by the Aquino administration in 2013. It also limits the ability of the Duterte administration to differentiate itself from its predecessor on how the Philippines manages relations with China.
Brexit dims chances for an ASEAN-EU FTA any time soon. The EU and ASEAN free trade talks first launched in 2007 was abandoned after two years and seven rounds. Differences over the scope and depth of the trade pact among 38 countries was compounded by the EU apprehensions about including Myanmar, an ASEAN member, then under five decades of military rule. Instead the EU chose to sign bilateral FTAs with individual ASEAN members, expecting them to play the role of ‘building blocks’ for an ASEAN-EU FTA. It signed trade accords with Singapore in 2012 and Vietnam in 2015 and was in the process to start negotiation with the Philippines, the rising star of Southeast Asia.