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TOKYO, Nov. 27 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press:


Leaders of Southeast Asian nations held a two-day meeting last week where they reached some agreements that will have a lasting impact on the prosperity of Eastern Asia.

A significant the creation of a new East Asian trade alliance...This pact may well bring major changes in the political and economic landscape in a region that has so far been largely composed of underdeveloped countries.

The proposal that the Southeast Asian leaders announced last Saturday came after they conferred with their counterparts from mainland China, Japan and South Korea. At the two-day summit, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said Asia should forge strong ties because it has common problems.

They do indeed. For starters, most of the countries in Asia are still suffering economically from the Asian financial crisis and some are poverty-stricken. A few are faced with political instability and social unrest as they change from authoritarian rule to democracy.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders have decided to make mainland China, Japan and South Korea key members of the planned alliance. This is understandable and quite natural. The decision would allow the Southeast Asian nations to benefit from the more prosperous economies of the three Asian neighbors.

It is a pity, however, that ASEAN is not going to include Taiwan in the alliance, and this is due to Beijing's one-China policy, which does not recognize Taiwan as a separate political entity.

Even so, ASEAN should do what's within their power to promote peace in the Taiwan Strait. The member nations of the organization must keep in mind that an unstable and potentially explosive Taiwan Strait is a threat to the entire East Asia region.

While taking advantage of the growing economic prosperity of mainland China, ASEAN must not sacrifice the interests of Taiwan.

(Nov. 27)
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Dec 4, 2000
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