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The Impact of South China Sea (SCS) Tensions on ASEAN: An Eye-of-the-Beholder Dilemma | The Asan Forum

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November - December 2015 Vol.3, No.6

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July 31,2015

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The Impact of South China Sea


(SCS) Tensions on ASEAN: An
Eye-of-the-Beholder Dilemma
Satu Limaye, East West Center
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An evaluation of the impact of SCS disputes on ASEAN


at this critical juncture in its evolution depends,
fundamentally, upon what one thinks ASEAN is all about.
Individual ASEAN member-states adopted a charter in
2008 that lays out the organizations formal objectives. A
centerpiece is that ASEAN will become a single
economic and political-security community. But leading
experts still disagree on what ASEAN is and should be,
what challenges the organization faces, and whether or
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The Impact of South China Sea (SCS) Tensions on ASEAN: An Eye-of-the-Beholder Dilemma | The Asan Forum

not ASEAN can cope with or even survive them. Hence,


it is best to assess the implications of the SCS tensions on
ASEAN in the context of eye-of-the-beholder
assessments of the organizations purpose, challenges,
and prospects.

This analysis argues that there are several reasons to


question why the SCS disputes should be considered
central to ASEAN or that ASEAN should have a
unifed position on the disputes. The fact that

ASEAN
failed for the frst time in its history to issue a joint
communiqu in 2012 due to disagreements on the SCS

issue does not

mean the issue has centrality to ASEAN


or that ASEAN is a

useless organization. However, there


are also arguments for why ASEAN should be coherent
and responsible regarding the SCS, and limited signs that
it is increasingly becoming so. This balance is nuanced
and subject

to change given shifting and complex


dynamics of the disputes themselves. But a more
sustainable assessment of the impact for ASEAN of

the
SCSs disputes can be made if one evaluates the main
arguments about the purposes, challenges, and prospects

of ASEAN.

Set against these arguments, the implications of the SCS


disputes for

ASEAN are very different. And there are


some surprises, including the very low salience of the
SCS issue in discussions about the future of ASEAN. If
one takes the position that ASEAN should be what the
charter lays outa community, then unity on the South
China Sea is a

logical objective. And yet, given the frsthttp://www.theasanforum.org/the-impact-of-south-china-sea-scs-tensions-on-asean-an-eye-of-the-beholder-dilemma/#[12.12.2015 18:30:47]

The Impact of South China Sea (SCS) Tensions on ASEAN: An Eye-of-the-Beholder Dilemma | The Asan Forum

order challenges confronting the creation of a true


ASEAN community, SCS disputes are the

least of
ASEANs community-building problems. If one thinks
ASEAN

should set its sights on simply sharing a


diplomatic voice and facilitating cooperation among
members and with external partners, then one would not
worry too much about ASEANs all-over-the-map
perspectives and actions on the SCS. Yet, these minimal
goals would suggest more coherence on SCS disputes
than has been shown to date, i.e., a truly shared voice.

There is a paradox: If one has big ambitions (a


community) for ASEAN,

then unity on this issue is a


logical ultimate though not immediate goal; if one has
minimal goals for ASEAN (a shared voice and
cooperation), then unity on it does not matter much but

does detract in a

more visible way from the achievement


of these goals. If one has a middle-of-the-road ambition
for ASEAN, thinking of it frst and foremost as a nation
and state building project with adherence

to lowest
common denominator norms, incremental regionalism,
and pragmatism, ASEANs position on the SCS is
Goldilocks right. If one thinks ASEANs problems are
mostly internal cohesion and capacity and not external
relations, then SCS tensions are doubly problematic
because they create complications for both external
relations and cohesion and capacity.

Assessments of ASEANs Purpose, Challenges, and


Prospects

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As ASEAN approaches its close-of-2015 target date to


become a single economic and political-security
community, as well as its fftieth anniversary in 2017,
leading specialists agree that the organization
representing ten diverse and mostly developing member

countries faces important challenges. They disagree about


the nature of these challenges, what to do to address them,
and whether or not ASEAN can cope with or even survive
the challenges.

For example, former Singapore diplomat Barry Desker


argues that ASEAN integration remains an illusion.2
He
bemoans the codifying of existing norms instead of
breaking new ground when ASEAN adopted a legal
charter in 2007, failure to

take up ground-breaking and


innovative proposals for ASEAN integration and
reliance on consensus decision-making, which resulted
in a conservative, lowest common-denominator
approach[or] ASEAN Way [that] has now become

embedded in regional institutional structures and is an

obstacle in community-building efforts. Deskers claim


is that ASEAN has not gone as far as it could or should
regarding either community building as laid out in the
charter or economic integration.

Muthiah Alagappa, meanwhile, takes issue with


ASEANs self-declared goal of community building
itself, describing it as a millstone that cannot be
achieved and should be delicately sidestepped in favor
of concentrating on its core (though limited)

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competencies as an intergovernmental organization.

He
characterizes these competencies as strengthening the
diplomatic voice of ASEAN countries, legitimizing the

Southeast Asian political map, facilitating bilateral and


multilateral cooperation among

member states in certain


areas, enhancing security of member countries,

and
constructing orders in the regions.3
His basic assessment
is that ASEAN is frst and foremost a tool for an
unfnished nation and state-building project in Southeast

Asia; not a community-building exercise in the true


meaning of that phrase.

Singapore-based analyst Alan Chong, declaring that


ASEANs romance with nationalism and the nation-state
is not over, 4
echoes Alagappa in the emphasis on
ASEANs role in nation and state-building, but he also
says that ASEAN has very basic normative agreements
(the ASEAN Way), and member governments are
pragmatic. Chong writes, Treating Southeast Asian

regionalism as a

progressive trajectory needs to undergo a


reality checkSoutheast Asian regionalism is hemmed in
by the politics of

nationalism, the persistence of ASEANs


normative frameworks, and

pragmatism as a diplomatic
virtue.5

Amitav Acharya frames ASEANs contemporary


problems in terms of

the duality of external and internal


issues. He writes that ASEANs challenges have less to
do with its external environment, such as great power
policies and interactions [and] more [to do with] strains in
ASEANs internal cohesion and capacity, especially
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owing to its expanded membership and agenda.6


Acharya suggests [t]o revitalize itself, ASEAN should
perhaps do

what a large corporation facing declining


competitiveness and proftability does: downsize. Not in
terms of its membership, or its staff, which are small
anyway, but in terms of issue areas. 7
Leaving aside that
ASEAN is nothing like a large corporation, a strategic
restructuring to address largely external issue areas will
do little to strengthen the organization if its fundamental
problems derive

from issues of internal cohesion and


capacity, to which should be added commitment.

Striking among these select assessments of contemporary


ASEAN is the paucity of reference to the impact of the
SCS, despite the fact that though tensions including
violent clashes have occurred regarding SCS claims for
decades, since 2009 acute tensions have revived because
of the overlapping claims amongst ASEAN, China, and
even Taiwan. In the past twenty months or so, intense and
expansive Chinese reclamation activity along with US
statements and some activities (e.g., fying military
aircraft near PRC reclamation projects) aimed at assuring
freedom of air and sea navigation have brought real

worries about the prospect of confict. In expert


assessments about ASEANs challenges and directions
discussed above, the SCS is not seen as an especially
critical challenge to the organization.

Alagappa does not refer to the SCS in his assessment at


all. Desker, curiously, warns that the ability of external
parties to shape the positions of ASEAN members on
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regional issues such as the competing maritime claims in


the SCS could undermine efforts to create an agreed
ASEAN viewrather than ASEANs own inability or

unwillingness to create a unifed position. Chong suggests

that the SCS issue is used by regional states to harness


nationalism and it is

probably healthy for the Code of


Conduct on the South China Sea to remain as vague as
possible in order that something of a lasting, albeit
imperfect, peace can be obtained amongst the
claimants.8
In other words, ASEAN is handling the SCS
consistent with its regionalist objectives and as its
normative and pragmatic interests dictate.

Among these specialists, Acharya addresses the SCS


issue most extensively, but downplays the threat to
ASEAN. He writes: The Chinese threat is only to the
disputed offshore territories and waters of ASEAN
members rather than to their metropolitan territory.
China is not alone in the reclamation effort, and the talks
to conclude a South China Sea code of conduct are
proceeding, despite the delays and obstacles. He also
concludes that [a]ny temptation [China]

might harbor for


creating a zone of exclusion the South China Sea or a
sphere of infuence over Southeast Asia would be met

with stiff resistance by the United States and other


countries. He dismisses

worry about the impact of SCS


tensions on ASEAN. The surprising lack of

salience of
SCS disputes in consideration of ASEANs future may
refect a savvy assessment of reality: only the United

States can (and ultimately will) defend the core goals of

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Southeast Asian states, which are not specifc claims, but


access to the global commons of and through

the SCS.

Other analysts, however, have expressed considerable


worry about ASEANs future in the light of SCS tensions.
One Southeast Asia-based analyst claims that its failure
regarding the SCS places in jeopardy the credibility of
ASEAN as an arbiter of peace in the region[because]
the regional body has yet to craft an optimal response.9
Others lament its inability to stand up to China.10
An
American specialist on Southeast Asia argues that [t]he
problem is that Southeast Asias traditional vehicle for

collective action, the Association of Southeast Asian

Nations, has proven irrelevant to the search for a solution


[to South China Sea disputes]11 and therefore [i]t is
high time for Washington to fnd new avenues of
approach.12

Criticism of ASEAN regarding its handling of the SCS


comes amidst a larger analytical discourse and policy
concern about the organizations future. Commentators
have also cited ASEANs recent handling of the outfow
of Rohingya refugees13
and its limited progress towards
an ASEAN economic community at the end

of 2015
despite plans to declare one. How then should ASEANs
handling of SCS disputes be viewed in the context of its

other challenges? Is the ASEAN project on the eve of its


declaration as a community imperiled by SCS tensions
and its response to them?

Assessing the SCSs Centrality to ASEAN

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It is not immediately obvious why ASEAN should have a


unifed or coherent position on disputes in the SCS or
why the disputes should have

centrality to ASEAN as an
organization. First, of the ten member countries, only four
(Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam) have claims
to features in the SCS. These four in turn have, to a lesser
or greater degree, overlapping claims with each other as
well as with Chinaand Taiwanthat have not been
resolved. Indonesias offcial position is that is not party
to a territorial dispute in the SCS, but experts question
that stance. SCS specialist Bill Hayton notes that the
government of Indonesias offcial position is that it does
not share a maritime boundary with China, but China
appears to think it does.14
At a minimum, fve ASEAN
members including Cambodia, land-locked Laos,
Myanmar, Thailand, and Singapore (six if one accepts

Indonesias position) have no claims to features in the


SCS and, therefore, there are no disputes with Southeast
Asian neighbors or with China and Taiwan on this score.
Not having specifc claims and disputes in the SCS does
not preclude all Southeast Asian states having an interest

in freedom of

navigation and other public goods in the


SCS, but, as noted earlier, this is not something ASEAN
or members states individually can ensure.

Second, just as the disputes themselves do not implicate


all ASEAN member-states, the combined demography
of the claimants does not argue for the disputes being
central to ASEAN either. Claimants

account for about 36


percent of ASEANs population, 30 percent of

its total
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GDP, just over 20 percent of ASEAN territory, and


around 30 percent of ASEAN total military spending.
Assessed in this admittedly narrow way, the weight of
the SCS issue in ASEAN is not especially heavy.

A third reason why SCS disputes may have limited


salience and centrality to ASEAN is that they implicate
the organization only recently as the membership has
expanded and the tensions have grown. Only two of
ASEANs 1967 founding members (Malaysia and
Philippines) have claims in the SCS, and Philippines

tensions with China

date back to the mid-1990s tensions


about Mischief Reef (now controlled

by China)before
the present ten-member ASEAN confguration. Vietnams
violent clashes with China on the SCS go back almost
four decades, long before it joined ASEAN in 1995.

Bruneis muted dispute is encompassed in ASEAN since


it became a member in 1985. Thus, ASEAN as an
organization has been fully and technically implicated in
the full range of SCS disputes only recently.

A fourth argument against the centrality of the SCS for


ASEAN is that none of the four Southeast Asia claimants
who have overlapping claims to features and related EEZs
have recognized each others claims; nor is there any
agreement about claims or approach to de-conficting the
claims between ASEAN claimants and non-claimants.
There has been some progress in the bilateral settlement
of claims between Malaysia and Indonesia, Malaysia and

Brunei, and Indonesia and the Philippines.15


Obviously,
this both refects and further undermines ASEAN unity
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and the centrality of the SCS issue. ASEAN is not alone


in shirking from making determinations of sovereignty or
declaring an approach to resolving conficting claims. No
country with the possible exception of China (and
Taiwan) takes a position on ownership of all the South
China Seas land features and accompanying EEZs, and
all interested countries are experimenting with a variety
of approaches to making, defending, and resolving claims
and interests. Rear Admiral (ret) Michael McDevitt
recently proposed a way for ASEAN claimants to
reconcile with each other and present a common front to

China. However, he concludes: Given the very diffcult


compromises that Hanoi and

Manila [being the two largest


ASEAN claimants] would have to make in giving up
portions of their claims, plus the uncertainty surrounding
Beijings reaction, this modest proposal will likely never

take place. It does, however, highlight the devilishly


diffcult problem of eliminating the Spratlys as a potential
East Asian fashpoint. 16

Fifth, among the four South China Sea claimants, there is


a complex rather than uniform degree of contestation with
China. Of the four countries with overlapping claims with
each other and with China, two, the Philippines and
Vietnam, have been most overtly and directly engaged

in
disputes with China; and the Philippines with Taiwan,
although diplomatic efforts have been underway to
resolve this bilateral dispute.

And yet there is irony in the


fact that Vietnam, one of ASEANs newest members, has
had the most intense tensions and clashes with China

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regarding the SCS, the most expansive claims vis--vis


China and

other ASEAN states, and yet has managed at


least in recent years to keep its relations with Beijing on a
manageable path (unlike in the Sino-Vietnam disputes in
the 1970s and clashes in 1988). The other major

ASEAN
claimant, the Republic of the Philippines, has had
signifcant tensions with China for two decades and has
had much more diffculty in managing bilateral ties with
China (and Taiwan) than Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei
or even Japan and Taiwanall of whom are pursuing a
range of confdence-building and crisis-management

mechanisms with Beijing despite serious ongoing


tensions over claims in the South as well as East China
seas.

Many cite the now infamous failure of ASEAN to issue in


2012 a post-summit joint communiqu as proof of the
lack of ASEAN unity regarding SCS disputes. This
assessment is incontrovertible; the questions it does not
answer are why SCS disputes should have centrality to
ASEAN and why ASEAN should be unifed about them.

Assessing ASEANs Coherence vis--vis South China Sea


Disputes

In light of explanations of why SCS disputes are not


central to ASEAN

and why there has not been a unifed


position regarding them, what countervailing factors
argue for a coherent ASEAN interest and responsibility?
What elements of coherence/unity characterize ASEANs
position on the SCS? Is there any evidence that ASEAN

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coherence is increasing in this context?

First, previous acute tensions in the SCS between


Vietnam and China and the Philippines and China
occurred when ASEAN did not include all Southeast
Asian parties in the disputes. With the 2008 adoption by
all ten members of the ASEAN charter, there is now a
legal rather than informal obligation to the ASEAN
project. While the ASEAN charter says nothing
specifcally about the SCS, its legal entry into force does
implicate and bind ASEAN at least formally, which

partially explains why

analysts and others at least expect


ASEAN to have a common position.

Second, ASEAN as a whole is implicated in the SCS


disputes because all member countries have signed the
Declaration on the Code of Conduct (DoC) and are
negotiating parties to the Code of Conduct (CoC).
ASEAN countries have been unifed in insisting that
China sincerely negotiate and implement a CoC even if
they have disagreed on other elements of their respective
approaches to the disputes. This concurrence amongst
Southeast Asian claimants and non-claimants is the

bedrock of ASEANs approach to the SCS despite the


diffculties

in realizing the objectivewhich stems more


from Chinese resistance than ASEAN disunity.

Third, recent statements indicate slightly increased


ASEAN coherence about SCS disputes at least in terms
of concerns

about Chinas behavior. Notwithstanding the


2012 joint communiqu fasco, the Twenty-sixth ASEAN
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Chairmans Statement following the April 2015 summit


in Malaysia notes serious concerns expressed by some
Leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the
South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confdence
and may undermine peace, security and stability in the
South China Sea.17
A close reading of the statement
would indicate that only some, not all, leaders expressed
serious concern, and China was not mentioned by name.
Still, this statement goes further than most recent ones
and when combined with other indications (discussed
below) suggest that the ASEAN

position, if not
unanimous, is getting more coherent and more explicit.
Fourth, a more diffcult metric of ASEAN coherence is
attitudes towards China in light of SCS tensions. With the
exception of Malaysia (Brunei was not polled), claimant
states do not view China favorably. Only 16 percent of
Vietnamese and 38 percent of Filipinos regard China
favorably in a 2014 poll; this rating would likely be even

lower if taken today in the aftermath of a massive


reclamation and construction program by China.18
While
this poll does not account for attitudes towards China
specifcally regarding the SCS, it is quite likely that in

such a poll Malaysian (and Indonesian) favorability


ratings for China would decrease. Malaysias recent
response to Chinas activities in the SCS,19 Indonesias
recent announcement of plans to build a military facility
in the SCS,20 and earlier the its military chiefs
unprecedented article in The Wall Street Journal
criticizing Beijing21
attest to growing worry. These steps
are not coordinated ASEAN positions, but they do refect
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a trend that provides a basis for ASEAN unity of outlook,


if not action.

Against such attitudes must be balanced the expressed


interest of ASEAN claimants and non-claimants alike to
continue cooperating with China in other areas. All
ASEAN members, SCS claimants and non-claimants
alike, for example, are founding members of the Chinainitiated Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank
(AIIB).22
The implications for the United States are
mixed. On the one hand, there is demonstrable and
growing SCS claimant interest in military cooperation
with it. On the other, neither ASEAN nor every claimant
has signed up to all US approaches to SCS issues, e.g., for
different reasons, some individual ASEAN members have
rejected US freeze proposals

in 2014; and ASEANs


statement at the time simply took note of the US
suggestion. More recently, US proposals for all countries
engaged in reclamation and construction activities to
cease and desist were met with a range of non-committal
responses.

Fifth, there is evidence of rising interest among ASEAN


members in region-wide cooperation. External countries
have called for such cooperation. Seventh Fleet
Commander Vice Admiral Robert Thomas was quoted as
suggesting combined maritime patrols, though he
acknowledged the constraints saying: Perhaps easier said
than done, from both a

policy and organization


perspective, such an initiative could help crystallize the

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operational objectives in the training events that ASEAN


navies want to pursue. He went on to say: If ASEAN
members were to take the lead in organizing something

along those lines,

trust me, the US Seventh Fleet would be


ready to support.23
Within ASEAN, there have been
suggestions for cooperation such as a possible Visiting
Forces Agreement (VFA) among the Philippines, Brunei,
Indonesia, and Malaysia.24
However, it is highly

unrealistic that ASEAN will take a unifed military


cooperation position on the SCS, and, if it did, its
capacity to affect permanent outcomes would be minimal.
It is likely that ASEAN and its member countries will
remain security consumers rather than providers.

Conclusion

If one thinks ASEAN should be a true economic and


political-security community as Desker suggests, than
ASEAN should have a unifed and far more robust
approach to the SCS. The obstacles to such a vision of
ASEAN

community would be recognized as extending far


beyond the inability or unwillingness to create a common
position on South China Sea disputes. In contrast, one
could seek a lean ASEAN, as does Muthiah Alagappa.
He emphasizes core competencies, such as
strengthening the diplomatic voice of ASEAN countries,
legitimizing the Southeast Asian political map,
facilitating bilateral and multilateral cooperation

among
member states in certain areas, enhancing security of
member countries, and constructing orders in the region.
In this vision,

disagreement on the SCS would not be


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especially unexpected or worrying for ASEANs role,


even if these competencies would demand ASEAN do
more about the SCS.

There is a paradox: If one has big ambitions (a


community) for ASEAN,

than unity on the SCS is a


logical ultimate goal, but the least of ASEANs problems;
if one has minimal goals for ASEAN (a shared voice and
cooperation) then unity on the sea does not much matter
but does detract in a more visible way.

If one privileges ASEANs nationalist project and a midpath commitment to regionalism, norms and pragmatism
as does Chong, ASEAN has

got its approach to the South


China Sea Goldilocks right.

The real irreconcilable of


SCS tensions on ASEAN is if one assesses ASEANs real
problems to be internal not external, as does Acharya.
SCS tensions would seem to complicate this assessment
as well as ASEANs external environment. Southeast
Asias persistent

quest for internationalization in the form


of a balanced distribution of power is increasingly fraught
as external powers, with the facilitation of specifc
ASEAN countries, create local imbalances. This
encompasses proposals for intra-ASEAN coalitions. The

net result is a more complicated strategic exposure for


ASEAN as a whole. It does not matter whether the
disputes are confned to metropolitan or offshore territory;
contesting countries will seek military equipment and
security commitments that make no distinction.
Similarly, shared micro-aggressions regarding
reclamation, domestic legal manipulations over claimed
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territory, and construction of military and other facilities


do not impede the search for external balancers; though
they cannot obscure the massive untenable macro-claims
of China in the SCS.

Instead of serving as a platform to manage bilateral and


multilateral

cooperation among member states, ASEAN


may become an arena where bilateral and multilateral
cooperation are contested. As for internal cohesion and
capacity challenges resulting from an expanded
membership and agenda, these pale in comparison, as
ASEAN member states and their external partners make a
raft of diplomatic, economic, and security decisions that
further undermine cohesion. It is, thus, not the expanded
membership of ASEAN that undermines cohesion but the
external environment while it simultaneously contributes
to further asymmetries in capacities (e.g., economic and
military ones) of specifc countries. The net effect is to
further perturb the internal cohesion and capacity,

already
sketchy, of ASEAN itself.

Beyond the eye-of-the-beholder dilemma for evaluating


SCS tensions on ASEAN are other diffculties facing

ASEAN. Generational change, increasingly contested


political situations in countries such as

Thailand and
Malaysia, and increased diversity of regime types with
the

entry of communist and monarchical regimes into


ASEAN over the past three decades have undermined
rapport. Regime changes such as the transition to
democracy in Indonesia pose fundamental questions for

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ASEANs future. Some argue that Indonesia, the most

populous and most economically and militarily powerful


Southeast Asian state, wishes to move beyond ASEAN
though Evelyn Goh makes a fne case that Indonesia may
go beyond ASEAN centrality, but not ditch ASEAN. 25
What are the implications if the dominant power of a
regional organization decides to remove its ballast from
the regional project? And one can only speculate what the
implications of Myanmars frst open elections as an
ASEAN member will be.

Nor is it clear that China or ASEAN member countries


will take the same positions towards the SCS in the years
ahead that they have taken over the past few years. China
also can turn on and off the tap of tensions in the SCS, as
it has proved over the years. Its approach to the SCS is
not the only initiative it is taking that challenges ASEAN
coherence. The One Belt, One Road initiative is also

seen as splitting ASEAN between mainland and


maritime SEA, and Phoak Kung argues that some in
ASEAN have warned their mainland counterparts to be
cautious, and not to be lured by Chinas

big money. 26

ASEAN member countries are themselves wary of being


locked into a path of confrontation with China from
which they will fnd it diffcult to move.27
Even during the
past 24 or so months of intense tension, the PRCs
approach has been multilayered. As Richard Heydarian
noted at the start of 2015: ASEAN has been rightly
encouraged by the more conciliatory language emanating
from China. Southeast Asian countries have been
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particularly encouraged by Xis decision to resume


discussions over confdence-building measures (CBMs)
with neighboring states such as Japan and Vietnam as
well as the United States. The prospect of a ChinaASEAN hotline and defense ministers dialogue has
solicited praise and optimism across the region.28
With
leadership changes possibly upcoming in Vietnam and
Malaysia, and elections coming in the Philippines, there
may be adjustments in approach to the SCS. Ultimately,
ASEANs position on the SCS tensions may matter less
compared to the fundamental challenge that all members
states, as security consumers rather than providers, have
to address: Chinas intentions, US commitments, and
their own navigation between them. SCS tensions will not
go away any time soon, but the newest and, perhaps,
weakest tool to deal with them, ASEAN, is neither the
problem not the solution.

1.
The views expressed here are entirely personal. Satu Limaye gratefully
acknowledges the research assistance of Neil Datar and Clarence Cabanero.

2.
Barry Desker, ASEAN Integration Remains an Illusion, PacNet, no. 17,
Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 16, 2015,
http://csis.org/publication/pacnet-17-asean-integration-remains-illusion.

3.
Muthiah Alagappa, Community Building: ASEANs Millstone?
PacNet, no. 18, Center for Strategic and International

Studies, March 19,


2015, http://csis.org/publication/pacnet-18-community-building-aseansmillstone.

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4.
Alan Chong, The State of Regional Community in the Southeast Asian
Region: Community Hemmed in between Politics of Nationalism, ASEAN
Norms and Pragmatism, http://www.jpi.or.kr/eng/regular/print_ok.sky?
id=5273.

5. Ibid.

6. Amitav Acharya, Doomed by Dialogue? Will ASEAN Survive Great


Power Rivalry in Asia, The Asan Forum 3, no. 3,
http://www.theasanforum.org/doomed-by-dialogue-will-asean-survivegreat-power-rivalry-in-asia/.

7. Ibid.

8. Alan Chong, The State of Regional Community in the Southeast Asian


Region.

9. Richard Heydarian, Face-Off: China vs. ASEAN in the South China


Sea and Beyond, The National Interest, January 9, 2015,
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/face-china-vs-asean-the-southchina-sea-beyond-12000 .

10. Amanda Conklin, Why ASEAN Cant Stand Up to China, The


National Interest, July 1, 2015, http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/thebuzz/why-asean-cant-stand-china-13238.

11. Walter Lohman, Why US Should Move Beyond ASEAN in South


China Sea, Nikkei Asian Review, March 9, 2015,
http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/WhyUS-should-move-beyond-ASEAN-in-the-South-China-Sea.

12. Ibid.

13. Michael Auslin, The Rohingyan Crisis and ASEAN Disunity, The
Wall Street Journal , May 27, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/therohingyan-crisis-and-asean-disunity-1432740154.

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14.See Bill Hayton, Inside Chinas Historic Claim to the South China
Sea, Strategic Review, July-September 2015, http://sr-indonesia.com/inthe-journal/view/inside-china-s-historic-claim-in-the-south-china-sea.

15.The author thanks Professor Pek Koon Heng for this point.

16.Michael

McDevitt, A Modest Proposal to Help ASEAN Reconcile


Their Overlapping Claims in the Spratlys, PacNet, no. 40, The Center for
Strategic and International Studies, July 9, 2015,
http://csis.org/publication/pacnet-40-modest-proposal-help-aseanreconcile-their-overlapping-claims-spratlys.

17.Our

People, Our Community, Our Vision, Chairmans Statement of

the
26th ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, April 27, 2015,
http://www.asean.org/images/2015/april/26th_asean_summit/Chairman%
20Statement%2026th%20ASEAN%20Summit_fnal.pdf

18.How Asians View Each Other, Pew Research Center, Washington,


D.C. (July 14, 2014) http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-4how-asians-view-each-other/.

19.Prashanth Parameswaran, Malaysia Responds to Chinas South China


Sea Intrusion, The Diplomat, June 9, 2015,
http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/malaysia-responds-to-chinas-southchina-sea-intrusion/.

20.Zachary Keck, Indonesia is Building a New Military Base in the South


China Sea, The National Interest, July 10, 2015,
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/indonesia-building-new-militarybase-south-china-sea-13305.

21.Moeldoko,

Commander in Chief of Indonesias Armed Forces, Chinas


Dismaying New Claims in the South China Sea,

The Wall Street Journal,


April 24, 2014,
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014240527023042799045795156928
35172248.

22.http://www.aiibank.org/html/pagemembers/.
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The Impact of South China Sea (SCS) Tensions on ASEAN: An Eye-of-the-Beholder Dilemma | The Asan Forum

23.See Sharon Chen, U.S. Navy Urges Southeast Asian Patrols of South
China Sea, Bloomberg Business, March 17, 2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-18/u-s-navy-urgesjoint-southeast-asia-patrols-of-south-china-sea. In the same article, leading
analysts assessed the prospects as very low given technical, let alone
political, problems.

24.Rene P. Acosta, In Lieu of a Binding Code in the South China Sea, a


VFA for ASEAN, July 1, 2015, http://cogitasia.com/in-lieu-of-a-bindingcode-in-the-south-china-sea-a-vfa-for-asean/.

25.See Evelyn Goh, Going it Alone, New Mandala, July 3, 2015,


http://asiapacifc.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2015/07/03/going-it-alone/.

26.Phoak Kung, Is China a Threat to ASEANs Unity? East Asia Forum,


June 3, 2015, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2015/06/03/is-china-a-threatto-aseans-unity/.

27.A

refection of this argument is Rather than accusing one another of not


standing up to China, ASEAN members should take bold steps to address
the underlying causes that make most of them too dependent on major
powers, not just China but also the United States.

Of course, this is by no
means suggesting that they must stay away from

the two most powerful


countries in the Asia Pacifc, far from it. The question is how they can
create a genuine balance between them that would ensure regional stability
and peace. Ibid.

28.Richard Heydarian, Face-Off.


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