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UNIVERSIDAD EXTERNADO DE COLOMBIA FACULTAD DE FINANZAS, GOBIERNO Y RELACIONES INTERNACIONALES International Political Economy of East Asia Rossaura Serrano

Rodrguez

Assignment: Professor:

Final Essay Dr. Jamie Shin

May 25th, 2012

THE ASEAN WAY AS AN APPROACH TO COOPERATION AND REGIONALISM FOR EAST ASIA: SUCCESSES AND WEAKNESSES Abstract The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established in 1967 as a product of East Asia regional necessities; nowadays, it is considered as one of the best regional mechanism in regarding to developing issues, guiding its member through boost trade, growth, investment and conflicts managing. This essay will examine the normative framework in which ASEAN uses as an instrument for maintaining regional stability: The ASEAN way; commonly referred to the principles of its members diplomacy, enshrined in The ASEAN declaration and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976). Even though of these features, namely, noninterference, informality, minimal institutionalization, consultation and consensus, nonuse of force and non-confrontation, which are the bases of the ASEAN way statecraft; it has also emerged some critical views in concerning to the topic. These criticisms are not only based on the approach of the concept ASEAN way, it has been criticized as well for

the policies that involved the modus operandi of country members. These policies such as non-interference, have had consequences in foreign policy circles in regarding to the lack of will for promote democracy /human rights or for the fact that this manifestation of regionalism is doing too little for the region. So, the essay will also outline all of these points of criticisms, in order to discuss the successes or failures of this East Asia mechanism of regional integration; concluding with some approaches that demands the ASEAN way to transform but recognizing the essential role this cooperation instrument has played.
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Introduction The ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is considered as the regional and political organization more stable and consolidated in the area of East Asia. Formerly founded based on strategic reasons in the framework of the Cold War, it has emerged as one of the most ideal of regionalism and regional cooperation in the area. The fact is, the attainment of this organization is due to its ASEAN way; a political practice of technical and behavioral rules such as informality, non-interference, consultation, nonconfrontation or consensus that have become more than a policy, a regional culture. However, ASEAN reflects some weak points; its ASEAN way is center of criticism which considerer a lack of agility and ability to address the challenges the organization faces due to non-coercive rules or relaxed standards. Thus, it has also been criticized in foreign policy circles for doing too little to promote democracy and human rights. 1 Hence, this essay will aim to show the interaction between the strong points and weaknesses of the Asian way as a regionalist project examining its effectiveness and the future responses to its emerging challenges. Thus, the analysis is broken into four sections: an historical background overview of the ASEAN project and Asian regionalism, the principles of the ASEAN way, followed by an outline of successes and failures of the Organization, and ending with an ASEAN way approach of its future and challenges, in the context of Asian regionalism.
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The Asean Way Won Burma Over, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230381650457732124262870.html, Retrieved 23 may 2012

After de world war I, the term of Southeast Asia as a regionalist construction was a result of external awareness, that is to say, the western view in terms of security, putting the region in the international focus. Eventually, the Southeast Asian elites, under a claim of sense of identity and nationalism, converged in an effort which showed the ideal of the region as an space for political and economic principles in a 'common enterprise of redefining and reinventing their own societies against [Western] cultural, political and scientific power' 2 The beginning for this regional cooperation is determined by the establishment of ASEAN on 8 August 1967 by the member countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and formally crystallized with the signature of the ASEAN Declaration, frequently known as the Bangkok Declaration. So that, the situation in the region before the ASEAN creation was turbulent after the decolonization period because several states were in the core of the Cold War anti-communist struggle as well as those states had to look after the recovery of their domestic policies. Thats why the ASEAN real objectives were to reduce the threat of communist insurgency and promote economic development by strengthening the state, while reducing military influence of external actors and minimizing competition between members in order to promote the mutual relations 3

John Ingleson, 'The Post-colonial Construction of Asia: Regionalism in historical perspective' in John Ingleson (ed.), Regionalism, Subregionalism and APEC, Victoria, Monash Asia In, 1997, p. 23. 3 . S. Narine, explaining the ASEAN. Regionalism in southeast asia, Colorado, Riennes publishers, 2002, p 13

Despite the existing boundaries and differences (identity, size, socio-cultural heritage, ethnic composition etc) between members; ASEAN knew how to face this threat in its early years and also was able to consolidate as a framework for intra-regional relations. Thus, the bloc was accepting more members engaged in a process of growth; namely, Brunei became one in 1984, followed by Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) in the 90s decade. Eventually after the East Asian financial crisis of 1997, it emerged the Chiang Mai iniciative in order to make a call for the ASEAN economies and the ASEAN plus three countries (China, Japon, South Korea) to the integration. The ASEAN bloc has also center its attention on stability and peace in the region, on promoting economic growth, social progress and cultural development as well as the aim on the management of security issues in their regional forum (ARF) for the administration and deactivation of regional conflicts. At present, ASEAN has a population of 600 million people (approximately) equivalent to the 8,8% of the worlds population. In 2010, its nominal GDP had grown to US$1.8 trillion. 4

Data from , European Union Relations with ASEAN, EC.Europa.eu Retrieved 23 may 2012.

ASEANs uniqueness is based on the way it develops the relations among its members in order to manage and negotiate differences. Thus, this way of acting is what the Asian leaders call The ASEAN Way; consist of diplomatic instrument for maintaining regional stability by providing a conflict management mechanism, established mostly in ASEAN declaration and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976) political documents. Even though its definition is not as simple to understand, in S. Jayakumar (exSingapore Minister of foreign affairs ) words the ASEAN way means, "informality, minimal organization, inclusiveness, intensive consultations to achieve concensus"5 But the ASEAN way not only is a mechanism of statecraft among countries, it is also a representation of affinity ideal through peace consecution and an operational code to guide the behaviors and conduct their affairs in the international arena. Hence, ASEAN way is based on three principles which encompass most of the practices associated with this dynamic: the principle of moderation, the principle of respect and the principle of responsibility. Firstly, the principle of moderation refers to the delicate respect among ASEAN country members and their partners. There is no place for public confrontations or criticism to other regimes and policies; so that it is considered inappropriate in terms of diplomacy. Second, the principle of respect which is the closest to ASEAN way practices; it means the frequently consultation of political issues to all the members as well as the adoption
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of

Referenced in A. Acharya, Constructing a security community in the Southeast Asia and the problem of regional order, London, Routledge, 2001, p 63

Resolutions by consensus. Third, the principle of responsibility shows the caution that members should have to calculate the effects of their decisions on their allies. It also represents the solidarity and competences for intergovernmental collaboration. Accordingly, these formerly principles enunciated are manifested in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) signed in 1976 and include otherwise, independence and integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of another, abstention from the threat or use of force, and the settlement of disputes or differences by peaceful means 6. So, it is understood that the concept of a Southeast Asian regional identity and much of ASEAN regionalism is based on the unique significance given to these norms. But, the main discussion under the ASEAN way framework must outline the balance of their effectiveness in the region. It is true that much of ASEANs achievements have been support by the ASEAN way; that is to say, a cautious and quiet diplomacy which preserves the national interest of every member in assurance of the national sovereignty. The way and capability to solve conflicts through consensus is remarkable, addition to the trend toward notorious informality on its members relation. The number of relations among ASEAN leaders has increased due to the practical norms, fact that has been meaningful to the learning process for regional cooperation and multilateralism.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, 24 February 1976, Article 2, http://www.aseansec.org/1217.htm, accessed 21 May 2012

Existing dialogue mechanisms are improving and widening channels of information gathering, sharing, policy consultation and coordination, resulting in a greater understanding of each other's problems and peculiarities and a greater tolerance for each other's predicaments in a region where, for historical reasons, neighbours often were largely ignorant of each other and had more extensively developed contacts with states external to the region. 7. Consequently, the process and mode of negotiation and the exceptional method of ASEAN way diplomacy among ASEAN governments, are attempts for develop an identity and crate a framework for conflict management and regional security; making distinctive the concept of ASEAN way. On the other hand, the ASEAN way has been the target of criticism against the concept in question and against the evolution of the organization and its practices. In regard to the concept, it is criticized the fact that even thought the regional interdependence and Asian values, the sense of regional belonging is not guaranteed for the reason that cultural , ethnical and developmental levels differences still exists as limits to the

possible interstate cooperation. A more accurate criticism is that ASEAN has never managed to impose their interests. This is the big difference with traditional international organizations, since their resolutions represent the common will expressed by the competent organ 8
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Arfinn Jorgensen-Dahl, 'Regional Organization and Stability in the ASEAN Region' in K. Snitwongse and S. Paribatra (eds), Durable Stability in Southeast Asia, Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1987, pp. 66-6 8 R-J Dupuy (dir), Manuel sur les organisations internationals, La Haya, Martinus Nighoff Publishers 1998, p 24

What is true is that facts such as the Asian economic crisis in the 90s revealed the ASEAN lack of resources and legitimacy to deal with it; namely, each country attempted to address the crisis from its own analysis and not considering the ASEAN way as a framework for the regional cooperation. This situation accurately appears because of the ASEAN way principle of non-intervention, taking into account that these problems in a world in which local decisions might have external and regional effects, some ASEAN policies are not a really healthy recipe for its members. However, trying to modify this principle means to renovate the entire ASEAN way concept. There is another issue: A community has some institutionalized structure that defines it independently from state membership. But because of the Asean Way, functional structures and compliance mechanisms cannot be set up, and in the absence of such, the Asean community will not have substance and strength to operate9. Hence, the ASEAN way becomes in a process lacking of integrative force since the organization statecraft does not involve people engaged in decision-making. It is necessary to demand the Asian leaders to change some ways to do things. Besides, the ASEAN way is not the unique expression of international relations in the region, thats why it is important to strengthen existing organizations to address international cooperating issues such as climate change and economic and political arrangements. This does not conceive ASEAN way as a totally failure, on the contrary, it needs to continue working on encouraging trade, growth and development under a understanding of a possible political reform in order to set up a strongest and coercive mechanism for the organization.
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ASEAN must have another way [article] http://opinion.inquirer.net/26061/asean-must-have-another-way, Retrieved 23 may 2012

ASEAN way is a sample of a totally novelty in the international relations. It has set up a cooperation based on discretion, informality, and consensus building and nonconfrontation agreements, totally opposed to western customs. Nevertheless, it still remains to be considered the managing of conflicts, if it is true that ASEAN way is not a security organization; security it was an issue for its creation but its actions do not respond to classic parameters of security since ASEAN way is able to center its efforts on reducing the political and territorial tensions among the members. But the changing balance of power in the surrounding region has exposed its limitations as an institution going forward. Unless ASEAN changes its ways, it will be increasingly irrelevant to both its own members and the powers knocking on its door10

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Weakness of the ASEAN way, http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/06/21/weakness-of-the-asean-way/, Retrieved 24 may 2012

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BIBLIOGRAPHY A.Acharya, constructing a security community in the Southeast Asia and the problem of regional order, London, Routledge, 2001 R-J Dupuy (dir), Manuel sur les organisations internationals, La Haya, Martinus Nighoff Publishers 1998 S. Narine, explaining the ASEAN. Regionalism in southeast asia, Colorado, Riennes publishers, 2002 The Asean Way Won Burma Over,

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230381650457732124262875025 0.html, Retrieved 23 may 2012 European Union Relations with ASEAN, EC.Europa.eu, Retrieved 23 may 2012 ASEAN must have another way [article] http://opinion.inquirer.net/26061/aseanmust-have-another-way, Retrieved 23 may 2012 Weakness of the ASEAN way, http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-

blog/2011/06/21/weakness-of-the-asean-way/, Retrieved 24 may 2012 Loke, Beverly. "The 'ASEAN Way': towards regional order and security cooperation? (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)." Melbourne Journal of Politics. Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne. 2005. Retrieved May 22, 2012 from FindArticles.com John Ingleson, 'The Post-colonial Construction of Asia: Regionalism in historical perspective' in John Ingleson (ed.), Regionalism, Subregionalism and APEC, Victoria, Monash Asia Institute, 1997, p. 23.

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Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, 24 February 1976, Article 2,

http://www.aseansec.org/1217.htm, accessed 21 May 2012 Arfinn Jorgensen-Dahl, 'Regional Organization and Stability in the ASEAN Region' in K. Snitwongse and S. Paribatra (eds), Durable Stability in Southeast Asia, Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1987, pp. 66-6

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