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ASEAN – Problems and Chances of Regional Cooperation in East Asia


  • Howard Loewen


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been existing for 40 years. Starting out as a security alliance in the sixties, it gradually developed into a genuine Southeast Asian institution after the end of systemic bipolarity, now encompassing all the states and their economic interests in the region, especially after the asian crisis in 1997. ASEAN has often been labelled as a paper tiger, lacking effective means to solve cooperation problems between states in southeast Asia. Does this model still apply to the present situation? The main argument of this paper is that ASEAN is not trying and will not be able to establish effective supranational mechanismus like in the EU. At this time, its main functions lie a) in the initiation of new economic institutions in the region like ASEAN+3 and the East Asian Summit, b) the integration and balancing of great powers like China, India, Japan, Australia and the USA. Hence, ASEAN is an important regional actor at the interface between economic interests and power in East Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Loewen, 2007. "ASEAN – Problems and Chances of Regional Cooperation in East Asia," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 26(5), pages 85-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:15:y:2007:i:5:p:85-100

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