News / Asia

ASEAN Optimistic About Regional Security, Challenges Remain

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, (File)
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, (File)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid