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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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