Development Policy and International Relations
The 22nd ASEAN Summit which is convened on 24-25 April 2013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. ASEAN Heads of State/Government and high-level delegation of Member States are now gathering to discuss on four major outstanding issues which are the realization of ASEAN Community 2015, ASEAN’s Central Role and Regional Architecture, ASEAN’s Future Direction, and the Exchange of Views on the International and Regional Issues, as well as other issues on common concern and interests of ASEAN.
What should be learned?
Brunei has held the Chairmanship of ASEAN after Cambodia in 2012. Under Brunei Chairmanship, the theme of ASEAN is “Our People, Our Future together.” In this sense, this theme is emphasized on the role of the ASEAN people in progressing cooperation in the areas of political-security, economic and socio-cultural. Additionally, the theme is reflected the importance of people of ASEAN that the region’s future is dependent on and to ensure progress for the development of the whole region by working together as one.
The Chairmanship will always be rotated annually based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States. On the other hand, in practice there is also an exception which Chairmanship can be shifted if they want to. As the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States of ASEAN, Brunei should take over Chairmanship in 2011, Cambodia in 2012, and Indonesia in 2013. However, Indonesia is prepared to chair the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2013 as well. Therefore, Indonesia and Brunei have decided to exchange their Chairmanship term. In this sense, Indonesia took Chairmanship in 2011 and in return Brunei holds Chairmanship in 2013. In case of Myanmar, it will assume its first ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014 which has consensus from ASEAN Member States in order to encourage Myanmar Government to continue working on the reformation before the realization of ASEAN Community by 2015.
Chairman will not only host the ASEAN Summit, but will also host other Related Summits, ASEAN Coordinating Council, Three ASEAN Community Councils, Relevant Sectoral Ministerial Bodies and Senior Officials, and Committee of Permanent Representatives of Member States.
– ASEAN Summit:
Talking about the ASEAN Summit, unlike ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, it is participated by Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States which is the supreme policy-making body attending to make decision and provide policy guidance on the wide range of significant topics related to the interests of Member States and the realization of the objectives of ASEAN. More importantly, the decision they made are based consultation and consensus as a basic principle of decision-making in ASEAN. Where is no consensus, the ASEAN Summit may decide how a specific decision can be made. ASEAN Summit Meeting usually convenes twice time annually which will be held in and hosted by the state holding the ASEAN Chairmanship in term.
In custom of convening ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Member States annually conduct first Summit during April or May and second Summit in October or November. As what we have seen so far,
for Indonesia’s Chairmanship:
– the first ASEAN Summit was held in May 2011 (the 18th ASEAN Summit)
– the second ASEAN Summit was convened in November 2011 (the 19th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits)
for Cambodia’s Chairmanship:
– the first ASEAN Summit was convened in April 2012 (the 20th ASEAN Summit)
– the second ASEAN Summit was held on November 2012 (the 21st ASEAN Summit)
In 2013, Brunei will Chair the 22nd ASEAN Summit on 24-25 April 2013 and the 23rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summit on 9-10 October 2013. After Summit ending, chair will release what so-called Chairman’s Statement of respective Summit which is generated from consensus of ASEAN Member States and believed as the political document reflecting of the ASEAN commitment as a whole on different subject matters.
– Related Summits:
In custom, Related Summits are usually convened in the period of the second ASEAN Summit of a Chairmanship term. Therefore, during the second ASEAN Summit, we always see the Related Summits are added and token place with the ASEAN Summit. In this regard, under Cambodia Chairmanship in 2012, there were the 20th ASEAN Summit without Related Summits but 21th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. Under Cambodia’s Chairmanship, there were seven Related Summits namely:
– the 15th ASEAN-China Summit, – the 15th ASEAN-Japan Summit,
– the 15th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, – the 10th ASEAN-India Summit,
– the 4th ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting, – the ASEAN Plus Three Summit,
– and the 7th East Asia Summit.
In short, ASEAN Summit and Related Summits are the significant meetings where Heads of State/Government of Member States gather to discuss on various issues of advancing political, economic and socio-cultural cooperations, to exchange views on the regional and international issues (Korean Peninsula issue, East China Sea issue, South China Sea issue, etc.) which concerns to the maintenance of regional and international peace, security, and cooperation, to emphasize on the efforts of realization of ASEAN Community including ASEAN Connectivity and Future trend.
Khov Ea Hai