Is the ASEAN Community achievable by 2015 without an empowered Secretariat?

"Everybody — including ASEAN officials — is pessimistic about creating an ASEAN Community by 2015," Indonesia's oldest daily English-language newspaper, The Jakarta Post, reported on ASEAN Day.

“I don’t think we can create it by 2015. But it’s not end of the story. It will take some time,” the by-lined story quoted from "an ASEAN envoy speaking on condition of anonymity."

According to the article, a key problem is the role of the ASEAN Secretariat which is "not an implementing body." The implementation of ASEAN programs lies in the hands of member states, which are either slow or feel the programs clash with their national interests.

“ASEAN is in the middle of traffic jam. We can’t achieve an ASEAN Community and other goals by 2015,” Indonesian political scientist Rizal Sukma, the Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said.

“The best way is to revise the ASEAN Charter and impose stricter rules and a sanction mechanism for implementation of ASEAN programs,” he said. The ASEAN Secretariat, he added, should also be given more power and money to meet the challenges.

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