From 18 to 20 November 2012 Phnom Penh in Cambodia will be the summit capital of the world. President Obama and the heads of nearly 20 other countries will gather there for a series of high-level meetings organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Events will include the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, and the East Asia Summit (EAS). Obama will attend the EAS and the US-ASEAN Leaders Summit as well.
Here at Stanford the issues at stake in these summits will be assessed in conversation among the ambassadors to the United States from five ASEAN member countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Viet Nam—and the president of the US-ASEAN Business Council. How will the ASEAN Community planned for 2015 affect economy, security, and democracy in Southeast Asia? What are China’s intentions in East Asia? How should ASEAN respond to Chinese behavior? Will a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea be announced in Phnom Penh? What can we expect from Indonesia’s leadership of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2013? Is protectionism in Southeast Asia on the rise? Has Europe’s recent experience discredited economic regionalism? Is the US-backed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) good or bad for Southeast Asia? Should the controversial American “rebalance” toward Asia be rebalanced? How reversible are the reforms in Myanmar (Burma)? What changes inside ASEAN will make the organization more effective? What is the single change in US policy that each ambassador would most like to see?