News / Asia

ASEAN Optimistic About Regional Security, Challenges Remain

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, (File)
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, (File)

Last week's Association of Southeast Asian Nations security conference produced an agreement on how to address South China Sea disputes and a breakthrough meeting between North and South Korea. The group's leaders say the progress demonstrates that a consensus-based approach to pursuing regional peace can be effective.

ASEAN leaders optimistic

There is a sense of optimism among ASEAN leaders following the regional security forum that concluded Saturday in Bali.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan says the foreign ministers from the 10 Southeast Asian nations, the United States, China, Russia and other countries in the region made constructive progress on a number of issues that threaten stability in Asia. He says ASEAN's inclusive regional forum and consensus-building approach yielded real progress toward resolving disputes in the South China Sea, on the Korean peninsula and between Thailand and Cambodia.

“I believe in mutually reinforcing experiences and atmosphere. I think if there is an achievement, recognize it. Ask for more. If there is a glimpse of success, give it support, give it encouragement and let it roll, let grow and let it evolve,” Surin said.

Surin recognize more needs to be done

But Surin recognizes that it will take more than just a successful conference to resolve any of the issues that ASEAN addressed.

Despite the informal sideline meetings between North and South Korea, there was no announcement that six-party talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program will resume. The United States says it still wants to see North Korea refrain from provocative military actions and take irreversible steps to end its nuclear weapons program before resuming talks.

ASEAN leaders were also encouraged when Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers said their countries will comply with the International Court of Justice’s order to immediately demilitarize a disputed border area and allow in ASEAN observers.

Terrority disputes

More than 20 people have died in fighting this year over territory around a 900-year-old Hindu-Khmer temple on the Cambodian side of the border. While both sides agreed to the ruling in principle, Thailand says withdrawing military forces will require time and negotiations. And Cambodia wants ASEAN observers deployed before it withdraws from the disputed area.

Surin points to the agreement on guidelines to develop a binding code of conduct to resolve disputes in the South China Sea as the most important achievement of the conference. But the guidelines do not directly deal with the conflicting territorial claims between China and several ASEAN members. Instead, they create a process for the countries involved to develop environmental conservation projects, tourism and fisheries. Surin says the process will start a dialogue that will lead to addressing the conflicting territorial claims.

“We hope that the application of the guidelines will give us momentum, will give us mutual confidence, will give us mutual trust and good experiences, positive. Not all are comfortable. Not all are in agreement but all are willing to give it a try,” Surin noted.

Surin says ASEAN's development into a regional community is an evolving process. Its consensus-based approach will not always prevent conflict, he admits, but it does provide a forum to Asian countries that want to resolve disputes peacefully.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid