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Economy

Regional bloc's fault lines exposed

Anne Richard, U.S. assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, talks with Maung Kyaw Nu, president of Burmese Rohingya Association, in Bangkok on May 29. (Photo by Simon Roughneen)

BANGKOK -- In a year that was supposed to be about regional economic integration and closer cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the latest migration crisis has exposed an intractable disconnect between neighboring countries.

     The May 29 meeting on the crisis, hastily arranged by Thailand, produced disappointingly loose agreements to address root causes of migrant outflows and step up searches for stranded boat people -- the latter seen by some critics as another form of interdiction. The conference also highlighted deep fault lines at the heart of ASEAN. With more fallout likely, the migration issue could redefine regional dynamics for years to come.

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