Call for China to become ASEAN member

A report has called for to join the Association of South East Asian Nations (File).A policy think tank has called for to maximise its future in Asia by joining the ASEAN club of southeast Asian nations.

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to host leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations in Sydney on March 17-18, a report released on Tuesday from the n Strategic Policy Institute makes the case for membership.

Report author Graeme Dobell suggests and New Zealand could take up a new form of membership as ASEAN community partners by 2024.

“Joining ASEAN is the best way to give full expression to our future in south-east Asia and in Asia more broadly,” he says.

“The Sydney summit can stir ambition into the symbolism, reaching towards substance.”

Mr Dobell says southeast Asia is feeling the pressure from Asia’s big beasts, the US, China, Japan and India.

“ASEAN, as a middle power grouping, needs extra middle power heft from and New Zealand,” he said.

The report acknowledges it will be an uphill battle to gain membership into the 10-country organisation, but one of the biggest hurdles will be ‘s own mindset.

” confronts a version of the Groucho Marx line, ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members’, ” Mr Dobell said.

“Or Canberra muses on a complicated semi-Groucho conundrum: ‘Love the club. Think it’s a wonderful, vitally important club. But we’d never want to join. Oh, and they don’t want us.'”

Former n prime minister Paul Keating has advocated for to seek membership of ASEAN in order to find security in Asia not from Asia.

The foreign affairs department has previously raised concerns that if joined, it would have to refrain from criticism of ASEAN governments’ human rights records, which would cramp n independence.

With growing middle classes, southeast Asian countries are expected to become economic powerhouses in coming decades, particular Indonesia, which is tipped to become a global top seven economy by 2030.

ASEAN members are Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

has had a “strategic partnership” with ASEAN since 2014 and before that was a “dialogue partner”.

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