Asean membership will enable Timor-Leste to have a stronger and more significant presence on the international and global political stage, say the authors.
Harsh Mahaseth, Lecturer at Jindal Global Law School, and a Senior Research Analyst at the Nehginpao Kipgen Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, India.
Vishnu Bandarupalli, undergraduate student at Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad, India.
Timor-Leste is the only Southeast Asian nation that is not a part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Asean includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The 11th meeting of the Asean Coordinating Council working group on Timor-Leste’s application for Asean membership was held recently via teleconference. The meeting reviewed the application of Timor-Leste to join Asean based on the three pillars of the Asean Community, namely politics-security, economy and socio-cultural cooperation.
Timor-Leste had submitted an application to join Asean in 2011 when Indonesia was the chair for Asean and since then, it has been making multiple attempts to become a member of the bloc.
Why is it important?
There are several reasons for Timor-Leste’s persistent efforts to become a part of Asean.
Timor-Leste will benefit from the Asean economy, which is valued at more than $3 trillion and has a customer base of over 600 million people.
Asean organizes programs such as the Initiative for Asean Integration aimed at reducing the development gap between its member-states. This program will give Timor-Leste significant access to funds for national development if it becomes a member.
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Asean membership will enable Timor-Leste to have a stronger and more significant presence on the international and global political stage. The Bali Concord III of 2011 seeks a “more coordinated, cohesive, and coherent Asean position on global issues of common interest and concern.”
Therefore, it would become easier for Timor-Leste to protect its national interests and concerns by joining Asean.
Published in: The Manila Times
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