ASEAN As A Regional Organisation: An Evaluative Analysis
ASEAN-One vision, one identity, one Community
Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a Geo-Political and economic organization. It consists of ten member countries of South East Asia. It was formed on 8 Aug, 1967. ASEAN formed with the signing of ASEAN declaration or Bangkok declaration by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines founding fathers but later on membership has expanded to Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The motto of ASEAN is One vision, one identity, one Community. ASEAN’s aim is to economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members and protection of regional peace stability. The Motivations for the birth of ASEAN were to the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in 1960’s. The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN established its legal identity as an international organization and took a major step in its community-building process.
The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, the Political-Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community. ASEAN commands far greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could achieve individually.
U.S. relations with ASEAN have been excellent since its inception. The United States became a Dialogue Partner country of ASEAN in 1977. Dialogue partners meet regularly with ASEAN at the working and senior levels to guide the development of our regional relations.
History of ASEAN:
ASEAN was preceded by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia, commonly called ASA, an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was established on 8 August 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand – met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration.
The motivations for the birth of ASEAN were so that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building, the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in the 1960s, and a desire for economic development.
The organisation holds meetings, known as the ASEAN Summit, where heads of government of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to conduct other meetings with other countries outside of the bloc with the intention of promoting external relations.
The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manila in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years. Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years. In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Burma which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.
By December 2008, the ASEAN Charter came into force and with it, the ASEAN Summit will be held twice in a year.
Aims and Objectives of ASEAN:
The aims and purposes of ASEAN are:
1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavor in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.
2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;
3. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, culture, technical, scientific and administrative fields;
4. To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;
5. To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilization of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of internationals commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their people;
6. To promote South East Asian studies; and
7. To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.
In their relations with one another, the ASEAN member states have adopted these fundamental principles:
1. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nationals;
2. The right of every state to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
4. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
5. Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
6. Effective cooperation among themselves.
ASEAN Political-Security Community
It ensures that the peoples and Member States of ASEAN live in peace with one another and with the world at large in a just, democratic and harmonious environment. Activities of Political-Security Community include cooperation on building norms of peace and security, strong relationships with external partners.
ASEAN Economic Community
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital. The AEC envisages a single market and production base making ASEAN more dynamic and competitive with new mechanisms.
Another essential aspect of ASEAN’s activities today is the development of close partnerships with other countries. The simultaneous engagement of many important countries with an interest in South East Asia forms part of ASEAN’s strategy to remain in the driver’s seat in regional developments – ensuring that the region is stable and prosperous, and free from domination by any single external power. The main instruments of ASEAN’s relations with its partners are the promotion of norms of peace and conciliation, and the creation of a network of economic agreements in the region.
ASEAN has established official dialogue relations with ten external partners including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the USA.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a very well settled organization to maintain and solved the matters and issues of Southeast Nations which is its member countries. It makes treaty with other nations regarding trade and business towards Southeast Asian Countries. It provides equal opportunity to all its members related to trade and commerce. It maintains the external affairs of its member countries among themselves and others too but it does not interfere with internal matters of any of the member country. ASEAN summit held once in two years where all the member countries participated and discuss on issues regarding to relations with other nations and trade and commerce. In this meeting members also solve their personal issues and problems. After formation of ASEAN South East Asian countries look healthy in their relations with other nations and trade and commerce between themselves and others.
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Student of BA LLB ( Hons.), National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam. Author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918474818031.
# http://www.asean.org/asean/about-asean/overview accessed on 25th Oct, 2013
# http://www.asean.org/asean/about-asean/overview accessed on 25th Oct, 2013
The author can be reached at: Suresh.Khadav@legalserviceindia.com
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