Formed in the mid-1960s by five anti-Communist states, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) serves the Southeast Asia (SEA) region as a multilateral institution with the primary responsibility of promoting social and economic cooperation among its members and maintaining peace in the region. ASEAN is quite unique in that it is built upon a cultural respect for the authority of individual nations to control what goes on within their boarders with little complaint or judgement by those on the outside, or even within ASEAN. The decision making process of the group requires complete consensus or ‘mufakat’ before any decision or action is taken by the Association. (Amer 1999, 1035)
Several agreements, concords and treaties guide the actions of the members of ASEAN. The Declaration of ASEAN Concord specifically addresses the goals of managing disputes and expanding cooperation among members. (Amer 1999, 1035) The Bali Treaty provides more specific guides for conflict management with regard to the peaceful settlement of disputes, and is open to both ASEAN and non-ASEAN members. (Amer 1999, 1035) Protocols have been amended to these two cornerstones of ASEAN participation, but their original purposes remain the same—maintain peace and stability between ASEAN members and within SEA.
ASEAN has not developed into a wholly exclusive grouping of nations. It has remained a “loosely co-operative and consultative” group with its members equally pursuing bilateral links with each other and with the outside world. (Evans 196) It was formed so that regional countries could determine regional politics in a peaceful and respectful manner, and through expansion h...
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...involve countries like Australia or members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), but I think ASEAN is best advised to prove it can manage the responsibilities that have come with its past and current expansion efforts before considering any more growth spurts.
Amer, Ramses. 1999. “Conflict Management and Constructive Engagement in ASEAN’s Expansion.” Third World Quarterly. 20:5, pp 1031-1049.
Evans, Gareth and Bruce Grant. 1995. Australia’s Foreign Relations. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Jeyasingam, Jothi. 2001. “Express trade expands ASEAN.” New Straits Times-Management Times, January 9, 2001.
Suryodinigrat, Meidyatama. 1999. “ASEAN stresses the importance of regional security.” Jakarta Post, July 24, 1999.
Teo, Eric. 2000. “ASEAN needs East Asian Regionalism.” Jakarta Post, August 30, 2000.
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