This observation was made by Professor John Blaxland, a Professor in International Security and Intelligence Studies, Director of the Australia National University (ANU) Southeast Asia Institute and Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU.
Professor Blaxland met with Asean journalists during a briefing as part of a recent international media visit programme organised by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“If you think about Asean as this organisation that has kept Southeast Asia free from major war for 40 years, as having transformed the region from a place of poverty and disaster to one of remarkable prosperity, then I see a future,” he said.
“If you extrapolate from the past, I see a bright future, and I see geostrategically, when you think of Southeast Asia as the maritime fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific, its future is fantastic.”
On the part Brunei will have in that future, he shared, “Brunei has an important role to play.”
“It actually has a big role in steering the direction of Islamic identity in Asean as well in a constructive way, and it’s also very well resourced to do that, and it’s small enough that it can actually make decisions quickly.
“So it has potentially a very significant role if it wants to play it,” Professor Blaxland affirmed.
Dr Sue Thompson, Graduate Convenor, National Security College, ANU also attended the briefing. Adding on to Prof Blaxland’s comments, she said, “One advantage that Brunei has too is that its economy is quite unique to the other Asean member states.
“Part of the problem in the early years of Asean was that a lot of the member nations had similar economies so they couldn’t actually benefit from intra-community trade, except for Singapore, because Singapore wasn’t commodity-based or agriculture-based.
“And Brunei has that advantage of not needing quite a unique trade situation as well,” she said. “Brunei has a well-established oil industry and so I think Brunei has quite a good role to play in terms of intra-community trade and economics.” / Borneo Bulletin / | Danial Norjidi in Canberra, Australia | All photographs, news, editorials, opinions, information, data, others have been taken from the Internet ..aseanews.net | [email protected] | For comments, Email to : aseanews.net |