now browsing by tag

Posted by: | Posted on: November 3, 2012

Cambodia’s EAS Carrot: Incentives for a Successful Summit by Gregory Poling and Alexandra Sander

Comment: As a former student of public policy for my MA at the University of Hawaii, I am impressed by the comments made by Gregory and Alexandra in addressing some thorny issues Cambodia must accomplish as a chairman of ASEAN this year. Both authors argued that Cambodia failed shamefully on its mission to be neutral in previous meeting of Asian Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in July in addressing the dispute of South China Sea. Both authors suggested Cambodia to correct its policy framework and bring back fame to ASEAN in this upcoming East Asian Summit (EAS) this November. The authors shed light on Cambodia’s inclining dependency towards China rather than balance its policy between both powerful countries such as China and the USA. They stated that “the next few years could prove a watershed for ASEAN in its quest for centrality in regional architecture.”

However, I see that both authors don’t pay attention on internal issues which are crucial particle and concrete foundation as a host or chairmanship, Cambodia must ensure that she has willfully endorsed the democratic principles and tightly held an open-minded domestic political profession. If  Cambodia couldn’t ensure that journalist Mom Sonando must be freed from jail and alter other accusations government rendered towards him, the government will have a roadblock within its feet. If Cambodia couldn’t ensure that key opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, can exercise his political rights and safely return back to Cambodia to exercise his presidency as the National Rescue Party (NRP) before next year national election, Cambodian government will have a roadblock within its feet. These two visible things and the chairmanship role model two authors addressed potentially deviates Cambodia’s collective success as an ASEAN chairman in this upcoming November of EAS.

PacNet #68 Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

Cambodia’s EAS Carrot: Incentives for a Successful Summit by Gregory Poling and Alexandra Sander

Gregory Poling ( is research associate with the Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Alexandra Sander ( is a researcher with the Chair for Southeast Asia Studies.

Cambodia will fulfill its last major obligation as this year’s ASEAN chair November 18-20 when it hosts the annual ASEAN Summit and seventh East Asia Summit (EAS). The EAS in particular will provide Cambodia with the opportunity to restore some of its credibility after the public embarrassment of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in July. On that occasion, Cambodia used its prerogative as ASEAN chair to block the inclusion of any mention of the South China Sea maritime disputes in the joint communiqué at the end of the meeting, resulting in the organization’s first-ever failure to release such a document.

That failure cast significant doubt on ASEAN’s ability to evolve and tackle tough issues. It also caused troubling allegations, especially from Vietnam and the Philippines, that Cambodia had placed its close relationship with China above the interests of its fellow ASEAN members. All the damage wrought in July will not be fixed in three days in November. But if the EAS goes demonstrably better than the AMM did, Cambodia’s image will have a chance to recover and some of the ASEAN skeptics will be quieted. A successful EAS, and by extension a stronger regional framework in the Asia Pacific, is in the interests of all EAS members, including the United States. The key will be supporting Cambodia as an effective chair.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: August 17, 2012

A Code of Conduct for the South China Sea?

Vietnam recalls that China colonized Vietnam for more than 1,000 years, and, more recently, China attacked Vietnam in 1978, and China gained a foothold in the South China Sea by ejecting, first, South Vietnamese troops from their half of the Paracels in 1974 and then the forces of a unified Vietnam from some of the Spratlys in 1988. If Vietnam were to compromise its claims to the South China Sea, it would be almost surrounded by land features and maritime regimes that China claimed as its own.

Filipinos do not forget that Japan invaded their country from some of the Spratlys and, therefore, feel the need, for geopolitical reasons, to push their western frontier as far out as possible. There is also the demand for fish in the diet of almost 100 million Filipinos and for oil and gas for the economy of energy-hungry Philippines.

The two wings of Malaysia, which bases its claim on the claimed features’ location on its continental shelf, on their proximity to the Malaysian mainland, and on national security, are not only divided but also linked by a large expanse of the South China Sea. Brunei Darussalam feels the need for the resources lying within and beneath its “exclusive fishing zone” and continental shelf against the day when its currently lucrative oil and gas fields run dry. The Malaysian and Brunei claims, as well as those of others, overlap. In March 2009, the two countries’ leaders announced “the final delimitation of maritime boundaries” between them; the text of the agreement has not been released, however.

PacNet #45A Friday, Aug. 17, 2012

A Code of Conduct for the South China Sea?

by Rodolfo Severino

Rodolfo Severino [ the head of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. The full version of this article first appeared in the ISEAS Perspectives Series.

On July 20, 2012, foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for “the early conclusion of a Regional Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.” The statement that the Cambodian foreign minister, as chairman of the July 9 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, issued on behalf of his colleagues invoked past ASEAN agreements pertaining to the rule of international law, self-restraint, the non-use of force, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Based entirely on an Indonesian draft cleared with all ASEAN member-states, the statement laid down what were the positions of ASEAN, claimants and non-claimants alike, on the South China Sea and their interests in it.

When contemplating a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, some facts ought to be taken into consideration and certain issues have to be resolved – or fudged – or, in any case, addressed.

One of those facts is what caused the downgrading of the 2002 document from what it initially was, a legally binding code, to a political declaration called, awkwardly, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which all of ASEAN’s foreign ministers and Wang Yi, China’s vice foreign minister, signed Nov. 4, 2002. The downgrading resulted from questions about where the “legally binding” code would apply. The question was raised primarily because of the dispute over the inclusion of the Paracels between Vietnam, which maintained its claim to the Paracels, and China, which had – and has – occupied them and steadfastly refused even to discuss the Paracels as disputed territory in the South China Sea.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: April 3, 2012

An ASEAN Peacekeeping Force in Myanmar?

An ASEAN Peacekeeping Force would have been invaluable last year, at the height of the Thai-Cambodian spat, to patrol the contested border area as part of a conflict resolution mechanism. While tensions are currently deflated, the problem endures and can re-erupt at any time.  ASEAN should be prepared to react the next time. A credible multinational standby force could also demonstrate ASEAN’s determination to stand together in the face of outside threats in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

PacNet #23 Monday, April 2, 2012

An ASEAN Peacekeeping Force in Myanmar?

By Fuadi Pitsuwan

Fuadi Pitsuwan ( is a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a WSD-Handa Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii. The views expressed in this article are the author’s, not those of his affiliations.

Does the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) want to sustain itself and hold credible weight in international politics? Does it want to develop and possess the ability to respond to potential challenges faced individually or collectively by its members? If so, then ASEAN should consider the establishment of a regional multinational standby force with a dual purpose of peacekeeping and collective defense against extra-regional threats.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: November 21, 2011

Singapore pledges S$50m to narrow ASEAN gap

The IAI aims to help member states such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam narrow the development gap to achieve the vision of an ASEAN Community
by 2015. Giving an overview, Mr Lee noted the global economy remained vulnerable with problems in the European Union and the US economy still weak with low growth and
low unemployment. He said ASEAN must cooperate to weather the storm. He said this can be done in three ways – achieving the vision of an ASEAN Community by 2015, enhancing ASEAN connectivity and strengthening links with the rest of the world.

Singapore pledges S$50m to narrow ASEAN gap

By S Ramesh |

BALI, Indonesia: Singapore announced an extension of its contributions to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) for another four years from 2012 to 2015,
totalling S$50 million.

Revealing this during the plenary session of the ASEAN Summit in Bali, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this will be the country’s fourth pledge to the IAI.

Read More …