To find the core of emerging Asia, look no further than the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Le Luong Minh, the bloc's secretary-general, suggested.
In these uncertain times for advanced economies, Asian growth remains robust, and investors are looking for a "nucleus" within the region to place their bets, Minh said May 21. "In this regard, no other region is as well-positioned as ASEAN is, as a hub to showcase the prospect of an Asian Century."
Minh said that despite disparities between ASEAN member states, the bloc will continue to flourish, thanks to three fundamentals that have pulled the nations together since 1967.
They are: the adoption of a noninterference policy under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, the pursuit of dialogue with greater powers to foster peace and security in the region, and constant reinvention through trade agreements with bigger economies.
On the subject of the ASEAN Economic Community, Minh conceded that the association may not be able to check off everything on the to-do list by the end of this year. Still, he said the bloc has initiated discussions to draft a post-2015 10-year plan that would close development gaps and build capacity for coping with challenges such as natural disasters, as well as food and energy security.