ASEAN centrality is not what it used to be. Covid, post-pandemic economic recovery, the Ukraine crisis and the challenge of China all tested ASEAN capabilities to manage them. It is now up to ASEAN to work out its unity and centrality with a greater sense of responsibility.
ASEAN summits often tend to be routine affairs with long joint communiques. But the 26th October Summit had interesting dimensions. ASEAN had to balance Indo-Pacific rivalries, suspend Myanmar from attending, and expedite trade services agreements. As it seeks to expand its global engagement, ASEAN must remember to remain an area of solace and stability for its members.