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Thailand martial law: Finance ministers say Asean can weather Thailand crisis

Published on May 20, 2014 11:35 AM
 
Thai army soldiers securing Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on May 20, 2014. -- PHOTO:  AFP

Asean's finance ministers said on Tuesday South-east Asia can weather Thailand's deepening political crisis, saying the region has been through far worse and its drive towards integration has made it more resilient.

"I think if you look at it holistically, there will be impact in the short term. But medium to long term, there is sufficient resilience for Asean to absorb these kinds of events, and even bigger shocks," Singapore's Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance Josephine Teo said at an investors seminar prior to this week's World Economic Forum in Manila.

Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the situation in Thailand "is part of a maturation process of their democracy".

"In the long run, it will be looked back as a positive development in resolving the impasse they have for over a year now," he said.

"The good thing about an integrated Asean is that you have size," said Mr Purisima.

Indonesia's Vice-Finance Minister Bambang Permadi Brodionegoro said compared to financial upheavals that happened in 1998 and 2008, the ongoing Thai impasse is a minor shock.

"We have passed the so-called worst situation, and we are already trying to stabilise the economy," he said.

The finance ministers said the bigger challenges for Asean would be dealing with the partial tapering in the US Federal Reserve's support for the US economy, which could lead to higher interest rates, and a slowdown in China's economy.

rdancel@sph.com.sg

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