Development Policy and International Relations
(Photo: The Opening Session of the 24th ASEAN Summit)
The ten leaders of Association of South East Asian Nations had gathered and met in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of Myanmar on May 10-11, 2014. Under the first time of chairmanship of Myanmar, the ASEAN had successfully and historically convened the 24th ASEAN Summits under the theme of “Moving forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community.”
During the meetings on May 11, 2014, Leaders of Association of South East Asian Nations have achieved two significant documents which are as following:
1. The 24th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement (Downloadable)
2. Nay Pyi Taw Declaration – 24th ASEAN Summit (Downloadable)
Interestingly, on May 10, 2014, under the chairmanship of Myanmar, ASEAN Foreign Ministers had issued a statement on the current developments on the South China Sea after there was a tension between China and Vietnam over the water dispute on May 02, 2014. The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) placed its deep sea drilling rig HD-981 in the dispute area of the Paracel Island. There was a confrontation between these two countries as they sent their military vessels to the rig’s placement and the situation was dramatically escalated. In this respect, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concerns through the statement and called for self-restraint, while at the same time, it also called to respect for the 1982 UNCLOS in accordance with the universal principle of international laws. Moreover, they stressed on the three significant documents such as the 2002 DOC, the ASEAN Six-Point Principles on South China Sea, and the Joint Statement on the 15th ASEAN-China on the 10th Anniversary of DOC. Lastly, they called to expedite the conclusion of COC which generally believes that it should be another important document on South China Sea Issue.
More interestingly, on May 11, 2014, Myanmar as the chairman issued a statement on Thailand Crisis. In sense of statement, ASEAN as a regional grouping has expressed its solemn concern over the developments of the political crisis in Thailand after the removal of Prime Minister Yingluck from power on May 07, 2014. The ASEAN Foreign Minister came up with their consensus to issue a statement on the ongoing uncertainty by underlining their supports on peaceful resolution with respect of democratic principles and rule of law.
In a wide range of issues raised by the 10 Member States of ASEAN, which indicated in its 24th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement, have illustrated significant roles of ASEAN involving Political Security concerns over its member state such as Thailand Crisis and regional and international issues such as South China Sea issues, Iran’s nuclear program, Israel and Palestine issues, the use of chemical weapon in Syria, Korean Peninsula issues. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in the 24th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement, ASEAN does not reflect their point of view over the Ukraine’s Crisis which is recently remaining as the challenges for not just only European Countries, but also a wider world as a whole because insecurity of a particular nation will be basically others’ insecurities as well in the context of current economic globalisation. The 24th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement failed to mention its position on the current developments in Ukraine where global politics concentrated and put their eyes on it. In this sense, ASEAN seems to remain partially playing in the global politics. However, the chairman’s statement did point out that ASEAN regional grouping is enlarging its significant roles by demonstrating its political positions and involving itself with an increasing wide range of issues globally. ASEAN as driving and leading force of the region also needs to actively voice itself on the agenda of regional and international issues in order to promote its profile and protect its own regional interest by taking part in maintaining regional and international peace and security.
Soul, May 12, 2014.
Khov Ea Hai