The Prospects of South Africa’s Engagement with ASEAN Countries

Asia's importance in the South African foreign policy is commonly attributed to the level of bilateral relations and increasing trade relations South Africa has with the Asian emerging powers such as China India and Japan to name a few. However it is of great interest to reflect on South African foreign policy approach and relations with the Southeast Asia region, contrary to the general focus on South Africa's engagement with the dominant Asian emerging powers. This policy brief discusses the importance of South Africa's bilateral relations with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the need to transform these relations into formal partnership with ASEAN as a regional bloc. Policy recommendations are provided for South African foreign policy approach on the need to build stronger ties and strategic relations with ASEAN community after 2015.