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Jakarta Post

A wish for ASEAN

  • Editorial board

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 8 2020   /  01:00 am
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are seen on screen as they attend a special summit via video conference to discuss the the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, April 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Thailand Government House/Handout )

It is a rather solemn day for ASEAN to commemorate its 53 years of existence. A year ago, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated a newly expanded ASEAN Secretariat building that he expected would usher in an era of more engagement among member states – a place where ASEAN nationals would learn about the institution that seeks to bring this community of nations together to realize a dream of shared prosperity. But here we are today, faced with a pandemic that shows no signs of abating, with borders between neighboring countries unwillingly closed off and every man (and country) left to fend for themselves. Singapore’s tally of COVID-19 infections was overtaken by Indonesia for a while, before being overtaken by the Philippines. The United Nations secretary-general said last week that more work needed to be done if Southeast Asia wanted to st...