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EU expansion a lesson: Lee Kuan Yew

EU expansion a lesson: Lee Kuan Yew

EU expansion a lesson: Lee Kuan Yew

Updated 19 December 2011, 14:58 AEDT

Singapore's elder statesman, Lee Kuan Yew, says southeast Asia should learn the lessons from the European Union's eastward expansion.

Mr Lee made the call at an economic forum in Japan as Asia considers deeper economic ties with nations such as India.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and South Korea, as well as Australia, New Zealand and India formed the East Asia Summit in 2005.

It is seen as a possible precursor to an eventual giant free-trade bloc.

Mr Lee compared the relationship between Southeast Asia and India to Turkey's bid to join the European Union, a move opposed by France.

Mr Lee, Singapore's founder and former prime minister, says a free-trade area including ASEAN and India might be possible in 30 to 50 years.