Asean should tap what China can offer

Chinese President Xi Jinping's declaration of his continuing strategic policy of peace and stability with China's neighbours in South-east Asian countries is most reassuring for Asean indeed ("Xi Jinping pledges freedom of passage in South China Sea"; Sunday).

It is time to play down any perceived stumbling block in the issue of freedom of passage in the South China Sea, around which many Asean nations rim.

Instead, it is time for Asean to focus on how to tap the growing resources that China can offer its members.

After all, if China can elevate hundreds of millions of its own population from abject poverty since opening its doors some 30 years ago, it can also help to break down entrenched poverty in South-east Asia.

After all, if China can elevate hundreds of millions of its own population from abject poverty since opening its doors some 30 years ago, it can also help to break down entrenched poverty in South-east Asia.

Western countries - Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, Britain and the United States - provided the heritage of modern Asean, for which the region should be thankful.

Now, the winds have shifted towards Asia, with China and India as juggernauts. Asean must raise its sail to catch the new wind.

Cyril Seah Kwei Hiok

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2015, with the headline 'Asean should tap what China can offer'. Print Edition | Subscribe