Coincidentally or not, China’s maritime disputes with its neighbours in the littoral have been gaining global attention ever since Obama’s announcement in January 2012 of his country’s “pivot” strategy in the Asia-Pacific.
The collapse of the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya (Thailand) on April 11 following anti-government protests tarnished Thailand’s image. It also brought the regional group’s age-old policy of non-interference in the domestic trivials of a member state under question. The incident impeded ASEAN’s strategy to define a common approach to current global financial crisis. The Pattaya incident also demonstrated the ineffectiveness of ASEAN as a regional organization.
In the recently concluded ASEAN Summit (November 18-22), apart from issues like Myanmar, ASEAN Charter and ASEAN Economic Community, nuclear energy was also discussed at length. A declaration on safeguarding the environment and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was agreed by the ASEAN members. This was, in spite of the fact that many non-governmental organisations as well as domestic pressure groups in some of the ASEAN countries have consistently raised apprehension about the safety of nuclear power plants which lie in the seismically active zones.