A former Singaporean diplomat, Bilahari Kausikan, recently said that ASEAN should consider expelling Cambodia and Laos for serving China’s proxies in the region, as their apparent allegiance to a foreign power may be threatening the regional bloc as a whole.
This is not the first time that an ASEAN member state has been threatened with potential expulsion—Myanmar’s membership was questioned a number of times in the early 2000s when the country was under military dictatorship.
But it is unlikely that ASEAN member states will evict Cambodia and Laos from the regional grouping for a number of strategic reasons. However, the suggestion could prove disastrous for the regional bloc’s unity at a time when external powers are aiming to upset the group’s neutral stance.
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