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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is taking part in a virtual summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations until Thursday this week.
Under the theme, "We Care, We Prepare and We Prosper," the ten-member regional bloc is to discuss fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery.
But there's a great amount of attention on how ASEAN countries will address geopolitical challenges that have been mounting in recent months.
These include the democracy crisis in Myanmar and tensions in the South China Sea, and the United States and China's rivalry in the region.
We address questions over ASEAN's capacity to unite and respond to the changing dynamics of the region.
For this, we are joined by Erwin Tan, Associate Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
The annual summit began with drama, as Myanmar's representative didn't show up, in protest over the regional bloc's exclusion of the country's top military general.
Myanmar has been under the rule of a junta which staged a coup in February this year, overthrowing Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government.
Are you expecting any extensive discussions or concrete actions to come out of the summit, regarding Myanmar?
The democratic crisis in Myanmar has been considered a litmus test for ASEAN's effectiveness, and its claim of being a rule-based and people-centred regional organisation. Many think it hasn't been doing enough and its policy of non-intervention is irresponsible. What is your opinion?
We haven't seen a joint Southeast Asian response to the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) pact which aims to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The reactions have varied considerably. While Singapore and Vietnam seem to back the initiative, Malaysia and Indonesia have warned the agreement could trigger an arms race, undermine regional stability and weaken nuclear non-proliferation regimes. What do you think about these concerns?
Does the Quad initiative and AUKUS indeed challenge the centrality of ASEAN?
This is Biden's first meeting with Southeast Asian leaders, as president. Is it meaningful that Pres. Biden is leading the delegation to the ASEAN virtual summit, compared to fmr. leader Donald Trump who skipped the summit in 2017?
How do you think the U.S. will engage ASEAN countries, amid Washington's rivalry with Beijing?
How has China's rise and assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Mekong River tested the solidarity of Asean countries?
Can ASEAN go beyond issuing statements and reacting to regional dynamics to actually shaping them?
In what ways can South Korea and ASEAN work together to increase multilateralism and adherence to global norms?
Erwin Tan, Associate Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Thank you for your time.