ASEAN to start talks about admitting East Timor

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene a meeting of senior officials next month to discuss admitting East Timor as a member.

The ASEAN working group on East Timor will meet on December 5 on Bali, Chandra Widya Yudha, director of ASEAN political and security cooperation at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on the sidelines of meetings of ASEAN leaders in Manila.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony which declared independence in 1975 but became a new state only in 2002 after Indonesian occupation, submitted an application for membership in 2011. However, some members, namely Singapore and Laos, have been not warming up to the idea. Singapore has voiced concern over the country’s lack of human resource capability to cope with the large number of ASEAN meetings. Laos voiced concerns that East Timor simply was not developed enough to join and had a huge economic gap to the other members, even Laos itself.

Despite oil and gas revenues, East Timor remains one of the poorest countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with official statistics indicating that around 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.

ASEAN has received the results of studies by three independent teams which examined the political, economic and socio-cultural aspects of admitting East Timor as the influential regional group’s 11th member. Those studies will be considered by officials in making recommendations as to whether East Timor is ready to join six years after first applying.

Some ASEAN officials conceded that “no breakthrough” is to be expected in the talks, despite Indonesia’s wish for East Timor’s admission as quickly as possible.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene a meeting of senior officials next month to discuss admitting East Timor as a member.

Reading Time: 1 minute

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene a meeting of senior officials next month to discuss admitting East Timor as a member.

The ASEAN working group on East Timor will meet on December 5 on Bali, Chandra Widya Yudha, director of ASEAN political and security cooperation at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on the sidelines of meetings of ASEAN leaders in Manila.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony which declared independence in 1975 but became a new state only in 2002 after Indonesian occupation, submitted an application for membership in 2011. However, some members, namely Singapore and Laos, have been not warming up to the idea. Singapore has voiced concern over the country’s lack of human resource capability to cope with the large number of ASEAN meetings. Laos voiced concerns that East Timor simply was not developed enough to join and had a huge economic gap to the other members, even Laos itself.

Despite oil and gas revenues, East Timor remains one of the poorest countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with official statistics indicating that around 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.

ASEAN has received the results of studies by three independent teams which examined the political, economic and socio-cultural aspects of admitting East Timor as the influential regional group’s 11th member. Those studies will be considered by officials in making recommendations as to whether East Timor is ready to join six years after first applying.

Some ASEAN officials conceded that “no breakthrough” is to be expected in the talks, despite Indonesia’s wish for East Timor’s admission as quickly as possible.

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