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Myanmar and ASEAN

Posted in Uncategorized by teslik on September 29, 2007

I’m a bit worried for the Economist that they jumped the gun with their new cover. I’m no fortune-teller, but it sure seems like there’s at least some chance the whole “Saffron Revolution” could fizzle pretty quickly, given the scale of the government clampdown (or what we’re hearing of it, anyway, following the government-imposed communications blackout).

The one article I’ve seen pushing news of the episode forward in any kind of concrete way is this one, from the Financial Times, saying that Myanmar’s revolt is stirring the first major internal crisis at ASEAN, the Southeast Asian trade economic bloc.

To make a long story short, Myanmar’s government wouldn’t be possible without substantial support from its neighbors. Japan and China are both major economic allies of Myanmar’s junta, though Japan has been gradually unwinding some of its investments. India too is busy at work trying to shore up access to Myanmar’s natural gas reserves.

This all presents quite a monkey wrench for ASEAN, which was actively seeking to increase economic integration among its ten member states.

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