News / Asia

Conflict and Controversy Overshadow Unity at ASEAN Summit

Heads of states and governments of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations pose for a group shot during the opening ceremony of the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 7, 2011
Heads of states and governments of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations pose for a group shot during the opening ceremony of the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 7, 2011
Brian Padden

The prime ministers of Cambodia and Thailand exchanged heated words over their border conflict at the ASEAN summit and Burma received an endorsement in principle to head the organization in 2014, despite its poor human-rights record.   

Since February, nearly 30 people have been killed and thousands displaced in both Thailand and Cambodia because of ongoing military clashes between the two countries over a border area near a historic temple.

Sunday, the leaders of Thailand and Cambodia held separate news conferences after trading accusations earlier at the ASEAN Summit about which country is responsible for the conflict.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said it was Cambodia that began this conflict by stationing troops in the disputed area in violation of a bilateral agreement both signed in 2000, and he says they have prolonged the conflict by trying to get international organizations involved.

"But the problems that have occurred in recent times I think demonstrate the determination of Cambodia to internationalize the issue," Vejjajiva said.

He says Thailand and Cambodia should resolve the conflict without the intervention of the United Nations or the International Court of Justice, and while Thailand agreed Friday to allow in Indonesian observers to the conflict area, he says, that agreement should be linked to the removal of both Cambodian and Thai troops from the disputed region as well.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thailand must formally agree to allow in Indonesian observers before further negotiations could continue.  He also rejected Thailand's demand Cambodia withdraw its military from the conflict area.

He says the withdrawal of Cambodia armed forces from their territory is not acceptable.

At the end of a two day ASEAN Summit in Jakarta that was supposed to be about trade and economic development in the region, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with the leaders of Thailand and Cambodia to try to resolve the border conflict between them.

He said he offered to get everyone to agree to create a package of solutions, so both sides can agree to the same timeline.

The Thai and Cambodian prime ministers agreed to extend the foreign ministers' time in Jakarta to further discuss these issues. Both will meet Monday with ASEAN Chairman and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

Other ASEAN leaders expressed frustration the armed dispute between members was threatening the organization's credibility and taking away from achievements made at the summit on regional economic integration.  

ASEAN Leaders also approved in principle Burma's request to take over the organization chair in 2014.  President Yudhoyono said ASEAN's approval of Burma's request is contingent on that country making continued democratic progress.

Human-rights groups voiced objections to Burma's bid. Military led Burma is under Western sanctions for serial human-rights abuses.   

In 2005 Burma was pressured to give up the leadership of ASEAN after the United States and the European Union threatened to boycott the organization. ASEAN groups Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Philippines and Burma.  

Other issues discussed at the summit include food and energy security, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, human trafficking, and East Timor's membership bid.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid