The Jakarta Post
There is absolutely no reason why the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should not admit Timor Leste as its newest member, after the nation formally submitted its application to join last week. After all, geography, more than anything else, was the reason why the regional organization brought in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar in the late 1990s to encompass all 10 countries in the region.
Admittedly, looking back, one could argue that ASEAN expanded too fast too soon, when it was clear that, economically, the four new members were at different levels of development, leading to the impression that there were two ASEANs. But even with this gaping hole, ASEAN decided to forge ahead with the creation of a single ASEAN community based on three pillars — politics and security, the economy and social and cultural — through the adoption of the group’s charter.