June 14, 2012
Asean Is a House Divided
By IAN STOREY
Since the tense naval standoff between the Philippines and China over ownership of the Scarborough Shoal erupted on April 10, the lack of support for Manila from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has been s! triking. Not only has Asean failed to close ranks behind one of its members, there hasn't been a peep out of the organization on the dispute—one of the most serious in the South China Sea since the mid-1990s.
Asean's deafening silence is disappointing, but not surprising. The member states are divided on how best to deal with the problem due to differing national interests, including the value they place on their relationships with China. The result is a lack of cohesion and inaction.