“The deepening and widening of connectivity in the region would reinforce ASEAN’s position as the hub of East Asia,” reported Indonesia ’s Jakarta Post.
In an article on October 25 released before the 17 th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi , the Jakarta Post said that the leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries will discuss new plans to enhance ties and upgrade the blocs infrastructure to allow the group to increase its competitiveness.
The master plan for ASEAN Connectivity would focus on the region’s long-term strategy to improve the blocs infrastructure, institutions and people-to-people relations, said the paper.
The master plan includes strategies to enhance roads, railways, maritime transport and air links between ASEAN members to reduce economic disparities in the region and help ASEAN achieve its goal of becoming an economic community by 2015.
The Jakarta Post cited the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s Secretary-General for ASEAN, Djauhari Oratmangun, as saying that the plan calls for more effort to improve links in the region, including transport, institutions, trade and investment liberalisation as well as tourism and education.
According to the newspaper, experts have praised the plan, saying that it is necessary to improve economic integration and allow the region to compete with rising economic giants.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta , Rizal Sukma, said that by enhancing links within the bloc, investors would see the grouping of 560 million people as one united market rather than as a number of separate countries.
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