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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid