Summit with Velloor

Asean Summit: Shades from the past, but with an eye squarely on the future

Asean leaders at the opening ceremony of the 33rd Asean Summit at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Nov 13, 2018. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
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SINGAPORE - Walking around Suntec City's convention centre for the 2018 Asean Summit and related meetings you cannot help but carry a sense of bemusement at the twists and turns of history.

This was the venue, a little more than two decades ago, for the inaugural summit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the successor to GATT. That late autumn in 1996, optimism was in the air with globalisation gathering pace. The East Asian economic miracle was toasted around the world and business and political leaders from the region walked with a spring in their step.

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