Monday, December 06, 2004

What's New in East Asia Community (EAC)?

ALERT: More interesting update from the regional cooperation! Now, East Asia Community (EAC) is going to form!

Malaysia notched up a victory at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos last week when leaders endorsed its proposal for a regional summit which would include Japan, China and South Korea, despite initial objections from Indonesia.

ASEAN has held annual dialogues with the three nations since 1997 under a loose framework known as ASEAN +3. Analysts and diplomats said a formal summit would underscore the region's serious intent to become a European Union-style single market and community by 2020.

The East Asia Community (EAC) is the realisation of a 1990 proposal by then-premier Mahathir Mohamad for an East Asian Economic Caucus, which failed to take off due to opposition from the United States which feared it would undermine the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

More interesting was Abdullah listed six key markers as the way forward to the world particularly East Asia:

1. a regional charter,
2. a free trade area,
3. a monetary and financial cooperation pact,
4. a zone of amity and cooperation to prevent an arms race,
5. a transportation and communications network and,
6. a declaration of human rights and obligations.

These six key markers really progressive and attractive even for the regional organization like the Asian Students Association (ASA). A declaration of human rights and obligations is really important as many of the Asian government still not rectify the International Civil and Political Rights which also one of the fundamental human rights.

It's great to have this positive remark as the International Human Rights Day just 4 days to go. We just hope this is not something work out by Abdullah's spin doctor. He is so promising in many aspects of reform in Malaysia, but until today, we don't see any significant achievement. He needs more actions instead of political statements.