Sat, 27 Sep 2003

ASEAN's Second Bali Summit

C.P.F. Luhulima, Foreign Affairs Analyst, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, (CSIS), Jakarta

On Oct. 7-8, 2003 ASEAN Leaders will meet for a second time in Bali, this time to establish an ASEAN Community comprising political and security, economic, social and cultural cooperation which are now considered to have grown closely together to the point of integration and thus reinforcing ASEAN's quest for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

It will be formulated into a second Declaration of the ASEAN Concord. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of 1976, which has been amended twice (1987 and 1998) to allow non-Southeast Asian countries to become party to it under specific conditions, will be highlighted again as the crucial code of conduct that govern relations between member states to promote peace and stability in the region.

However, ASEAN continues to refrain from expanding its validity of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), allegedly the primary forum for the enhancement for political and security cooperation in the wider Asia-Pacific region. The ARF still lacks a code of conduct in its endeavors to establish and ensure security in the Asia-Pacific, in going through its three stages of cooperation, confidence-building, preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution -- which is still being formulated at the insistence of China.

The essence of the Treaty had been applied to the South China Sea. The Declaration of Principles of the South China Sea of July 1992 persuades all parties to "apply the principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation as a basis for formulating a code of international conduct in the South China Sea" and "invites all parties to abide by the Declaration of Principles."

It is, however, only the Declaration of Principles, not the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in its entirety, including the High Council to resolve intra-mural conflicts, that is being applied here. The emphasis on the operational capacity of the High Council in the coming Summit is essentially for ASEAN members to take into consideration for peaceful conflict resolution.

At the upcoming 9th Summit, ASEAN will accept China's, India's and possibly Russia's formal requests to become party to the Treaty. Does this mean that the three signatories will have the right to request for the institution of the High Council for peaceful conflict resolutions in cases of border or territorial disputes between them and the ASEAN members or will it be referred to the International Court of Justice in the Hague?

The ASEAN Security Community to be established at the second Bali Summit is essentially a community that relies exclusively on peaceful processes in the settlement of intra-mural differences, that security in this community is essentially indivisible. Its theme is comprehensive security, comprising national and regional resilience, and which is again, like in the first Bali Concord, highlighted.

It subscribes to the UN Charter and principles of international law and upholds ASEAN's principles of independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity, non-interference in the internal affairs of one another and repudiation of the threat or use of force, and peaceful settlement of disputes. Maritime cooperation is highlighted as an integral part in the establishment of this security community.

Combating terrorism, essentially as a crime against humanity, and other trans-national organized crime is equally the main thrust of this security community. However, comprehensive security here excludes military cooperation, alliances and defense pacts. Equally, the establishment a joint ASEAN foreign policy is not included in an ASEAN Security Community.

A design of an ASEAN Security Community 20 years from now should, however, not preclude common defense and foreign policies. A security community that pretends to be future oriented should keep its options open, a task future generations should further contemplate upon and redesign. Any attempt to prescribe policies from our generation's points of view for them to implement will surely be unsuccessful.

They will have to respond to challenges that will emerge from the changes in the political and security configurations in the future. An ASEAN foreign minister may not be impossible in 20 years. One who will be responsible for a joint ASEAN foreign policy and perhaps a joint ASEAN security policy.

Equally, we could say that the present generation should meet its security needs without compromising the needs of future generations to do the same in perhaps entirely different circumstances.

An over-emphasis on the rights of sovereignty should in times of globalization and the intense international communication and information revolution be balanced by the obligations of the state to guarantee human rights and human security.

Such a clear-cut statement in the Constitution on the government's responsibility for the basic rights of human beings in Indonesia should make it realize that it must raise the subject in the coming Summit. It is here that Indonesia should take the leadership in the redefinition of non-interference, in balancing the rights and obligation of sovereignty, state and human security in the ASEAN region, although human rights violations are still rampant in this country.

ASEAN's Economic Community is much more advanced in its end- goal, to accomplish "a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment, and a freer flow of capital, equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities" in 2020. The approach should essentially be incremental towards "an integrated market and an integrated production network", thus stimulating investment inflows, economies of scale and consumer welfare.

It is envisioned to enhanced ASEAN's credibility and economic weight. ASEAN's strategy in achieving an economic community comprises two fundamental approaches: ASEAN's integration and enhanced economic competitiveness. A common regional market is thus on the agenda, essentially, according to Goh Cok Tong, Singapore's prime minister, to balance China's and India's rising low-wage competition.

Of course, the rolling back of the original setting of the timetable of 2020 still depends on the domestic economic outlooks of the various member states. In this effort, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia (rather than Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia as projected earlier) will definitely take the lead in bringing forward the target dates of an economically integrated ASEAN and perhaps a common ASEAN currency to step up its competitiveness.

Talking about ASEAN leadership, does the regional grouping still depend on charismatic leadership? No! The need for charismatic leadership of ASEAN has definitely passed.

Mahathir Mohammad will be the last of that category. ASEAN's new brand of leaders will be administrator types, not solidarity makers as the former ones, as the generation of Soeharto, Lee Kuan Yew, Tun Hussein Onn, Mahathir Mohammad, Prem Tinsulanonda, and Ferdinand Marcos demonstrated.

These new type of leaders will need more input into the decision making from civil society, from ASEAN's second and third track institutions. These new type of leaders will have to design the new ASEAN way in promoting regional cooperation and integration, where respect for human rights, democracy, transparency and fairness will be central in making ASEAN more relevant to the population at large.