Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

ASEAN Meeting Kicks Off: Nuclear Energy Plans Defended, Economic Integration Priority One

Posted by K.E. White on August 24, 2007

Summary: ASEAN started its three-day Manila meeting today, with two chief objectives: 1) implanting its long-awaited economic integrations plans and 2) reaffirming ASEAN’s nuclear energy plans.

Okay, so first some background on ASEAN from Alalam:

ASEAN LogoASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The bloc’s population is estimated at 500 million people and is comparable to the European Union’s market size.

Why the hubbub over nuclear power? Green Peace has criticized plans by Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to construct nuclear power plants. The purported purpose? Cutting dependence on oil and natural gas.

The three nations plan to treat these plants, to be built over the next two decades, as an “ASEAN Power Grid”:

Jayakumar (Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security) said in his speech the 10-member bloc will also sign a memorandum of understanding on an ASEAN Power Grid that “provides the essential framework” for the region to implement the project.

The ASEAN Power Grid is an ambitious plan to connect member countries to ensure continued power supply whereby countries with surplus reserves can sell to a neighboring country. (Agence France-Presse)

Channel News Asia highlights Dr Piyasvasti Amranand—Thailand’s Energy Minister–defense of nuclear energy:

Piyasvasti Amranand“Nuclear is now coming back, there are probably about 30 nuclear plants under construction worldwide. If you are really concerned about global warming, I believe that nuclear is an option that should not be ignored,” said Dr Piyasvasti Amranand, Thailand’s Energy Minister.

“It would be totally irresponsible for any government to ignore nuclear because I do not believe that energy conservation or renewable energy alone can solve and reduce the emission of green house gases,” he added.

The ministers also stressed that these are but a range of options available.

Shin-Ho KangBesides nuclear energy plans, ASEAN also hopes to get its economic integration plans underway. The plans, meant to harmonize monetary and trade polices among ASEAN members, were unveiled in 2003. This 2006 speech by Dr. Shin-Ho Kang gives offers a digestible look at the reasons for and challenges to ASEAN economic cooperation (AEC).

AFX News Limited provides this AEC background:

The roadmap was largely completed and was both comprehensive and flexible enough to ‘allow us to modify this … to adjust to the vagaries of the global economy and political landscape.’

ASEAN, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has set 2015 as the date for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), an integrated grouping that will allow the region to compete with Asian giants China and India.

And Mathaba provides rest of ASEAN’s Manila slate:

They will also sign a key protocol regarding a deliberation of an import tariff cut on rice and sugar products some ASEAN members are not ready to cooperate within the given time frame, as well as another protocol on a cluster of logistics and transport services to boost the competitiveness of businesses.

In addition, the meeting will discuss with six dialogue partners including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand on progress in implementing the free trade area agreement. (TNA)

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One Response to “ASEAN Meeting Kicks Off: Nuclear Energy Plans Defended, Economic Integration Priority One”

  1. […] This earlier blog delves into the nuclear plans of Indonesia, and how this protest might disrupt plans for the region’s energy plans. […]

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