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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora