10 States ― Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 1 Observer – Papua New Guinea.
ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Membership
27 States – Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States, and Vietnam.
ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original member countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.
The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: (1) to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and (2) to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of State and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.”
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, signed at the First ASEAN Summit on 24 February 1976, declared that in their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties should be guided by the following fundamental principles:
- Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
- The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion, or coercion;
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
- Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
- Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
- Effective cooperation among themselves.
The TAC stated that ASEAN political and security dialogue and cooperation should aim to promote regional peace and stability by enhancing regional resilience. Regional resilience shall be achieved by cooperating in all fields based on the principles of self-confidence, self-reliance, mutual respect, cooperation, and solidarity, which shall constitute the foundation for a strong and viable community of nations in Southeast Asia.
Some of the major political accords of ASEAN are as follows:
- ASEAN Declaration, Bangkok, 8 August 1967
- Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration, Kuala Lumpur, 27 November 1971
- Declaration of ASEAN Concord, Bali, 24 February 1976
- Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Bali, 24 February 1976
- ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea, Manila, 22 July 1992
- Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, Bangkok, 15 December 1997
- ASEAN Vision 2020, Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 1997
- Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, 5 November 2001
- Declaration of ASEAN Concord II, Bali, 7 October 2003
- ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT), 11 January 2007
- Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, 11 January 2007
- ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, 5 November 2001; and
- Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Promoting Defence Cooperation for a Dynamic ASEAN Community, 25 May 2016.
Although ASEAN States cooperate mainly on economic and social issues, the organization has a security function, with a long-discussed program for confidence-building measures and for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Southeast Asia, with the objective of implementing ASEAN’s 1971 Declaration on a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), and a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), which would be a component of ZOPFAN.
Verification and Compliance
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is an important multilateral forum for political and security consultations and cooperation. The ARF has begun to explore activities where there is overlap between confidence-building measures and preventive diplomacy. ASEAN Member States are urged to settle disputes through friendly negotiations applying the procedures of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) of 1976. However, the Member States are not obliged to use the Treaty stipulations for the peaceful settlement of disputes. In case a State resorts to the use of force, no system of collective security is foreseen.
On 1 March, the 10th meeting of the ASEAN-US Joint Cooperation Committee took place in Jakarta. Both parties discussed shared strategic priorities, including transnational crime, cybersecurity, and developments in the U.S.-DPRK relationship.
On 5 January, Dato Lim Jock Hoi assumed office as ASEAN’s new secretary general—he will serve from 2018-2022.
On 18 March, ASEAN and Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on counter terrorism, while jointly expressing grave concerns for the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
In April, ASEAN Centre for Energy published the report Pre-Feasibility Study on the Establishment of Nuclear Power Plant in ASEAN, outlining the recent developments and prospects of civilian nuclear power for the ASEAN member states.
On 25 September, Thailand ratified the CTBT. With Thailand’s ratification, all ten ASEAN countries have now ratified the treaty.
From 13-15 November, the 33rd ASEAN summit took place in Singapore. The 6th ASEAN-U.S. Summit also took place on the sidelines of the larger ASEAN summit, at which U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stated that North Korea must disclose “a complete list” of its weapons and facilities at the two countries’ next meeting. The outgoing ASEAN Chair, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, handed over the ASEAN chairmanship to Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha at the conclusion of the larger summit.
On 14 February, ASEAN expressed its grave concern over the DPRK’s test firing of on the Pukguksong-2 MRBM on 12 February 2017.
On March 2, the 24th meeting of the ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) was held in Jakarta.
On March 8, the ASEAN expressed its grave concern over the firing of ballistic missiles by the DPRK in the early morning of 6 March, 2017, reaffirming the importance of peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and its full support for the denuclearization of the peninsula in a peaceful manner.
On April 29-30 the 30th ASEAN Summit was held in Manila, Philippines.
On August 5, the ASEAN released a statement of the development in the Korean Peninsula, reiterating grave concern over the escalation of tensions in the peninsula.
On 16 March, the new ambassador of the DPRK to ASEAN assumed office. Secretary-General Minh welcomed Ambassador An and reiterated the importance of working toward peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
On 12 April, during the 17th meeting of the ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), the two sides renewed commitments to forge greater cooperation.
On 25-26 May, the 10th annual ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) was held in Vientiane, Laos. The Joint Declaration of the 10th ADMM reiterates all Member States’ commitment to responding effectively to transnational crimes and transboundary challenges.
On 6-7 September, the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits took place in Vientiane, Laos.
On 8 September, the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Vientiane, Laos. The EAS released a statement on non-proliferation, emphasizing the importance of advancing the goals of all three pillars of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The group also reaffirmed its commitment to preserving the SEANWFZ.
On 15-17 March, the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) was held in Langkawi, Malaysia. On 16 March, the 10 defense ministers signed a joint declaration with a focus on regional security cooperation, especially against terrorist threats posed by groups like the Islamic State (IS).
On 27 April, the 26th ASEAN Summit took place under Malaysia’s chairmanship. The chairman addressed the commitment to a region free of weapons of mass destruction.
On 28 April, Ambassador H.E. U Kyaw Tin of Myanmar delivered a statement on behalf of ASEAN members at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, addressing nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In the statement, he emphasized ASEAN’s commitment and support for a world free of nuclear weapons.
On 9 June, Malaysia, on behalf of ASEAN, delivered a statement at the second session of the Conference on Disarmament. In the statement, Ambassador Mazlan Muhammad reiterated that ASEAN Member States always regard nuclear disarmament as their priority and suggested the creation of a clear timeline to ensure the fulfilment of the Conference’s objectives. He also mentioned the Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) issue, the disappointing outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, as well as other relevant disarmament issues.
On 4 August, the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ASEAN members issued a joint statement, in which they reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to preserving Southeast Asia as a NWFZ and called for the full implementation of the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the Treaty on the SEANWFZ (2013-2017).
On 8 October, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar delivered a statement on behalf of ASEAN during the opening statements for the General Assembly First Committee. The statement outlined the group’s goals in relation to nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
On 2 April, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel joined defense ministers from the 10 Asia-Pacific countries for an unofficial meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen and “rebalance” the relationship between the United States and ASEAN.
On 27 May, the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, through the Working Group on Cybercrime, finalized a “roadmap” for ASEAN members to combat cybercrime through regional information sharing, capacity building, and enforcement regulation. This was followed by the 9th ASEAN-Japan Counter-Terrorism Dialogue on 29-30 May in Singapore. The meeting covered counter-terrorism in a variety of fields, including CBRN explosives and cyber-terrorism.
On 5-10 August, the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. In the meeting, the delegates addressed the importance of nuclear nonproliferation, the commitment to Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and the cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
On 10 November, the 25th ASEAN Summit took place under Myanmar’s chairmanship. The chairman addressed the concern on nuclear nonproliferation and other regional and international security issues.
On 13 November, the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The Chairmanship expressed their commitment to preserving Southeast Asia as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and addressed other issues relevant to disarmament, nonproliferation, maritime security, and counterterrorism.
On 9 January, Mr. Le Luong Minh of Vietnam assumed the position of ASEAN Secretary-General. He succeeds Dr. Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand, and his term expires on 31 December 2017.
On 11 January, Malaysia ratified the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT), making it the tenth and final member of ASEAN to do so.
On 12 February, Secretary-General Le Luong Minh made a speech reaffirming the importance of the IAEA safeguards system. He emphasized the vital role the IAEA plays under the SEANWFZ and encouraged ASEAN Member-States to cooperate with the IAEA to the fullest.
On 19 February, the Chairman of ASEAN issued a statement expressing concern over the DPRK’s underground nuclear test. He further called for the DPRK to remember its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and emphasized the importance of dialogue in resolving the tension in the Korean Peninsula.
From 24-25 April, the 22nd ASEAN Summit took place in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The group once more reaffirmed its support for full implementation of the SEANWFZ and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The 46th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting took place from 27 June-2 July in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalum, chaired the meeting. At the meeting, parties adopted the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free-Zone, which continued to encourage compliance with the SEANFWZ Treaty and cooperation with the IAEA. The Joint Communique released by the AMM also expressed support for the SEANWFZ Treaty and encouraged transparency in the interests of nuclear safety.
On 2 April, Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member states began a two day summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. One of the key topics is the planned rocket launch by North Korea. On 2 April, in Jakarta, the U.S. Deputy Assistant of State for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs gave a lecture on U.S. multilateralism and Asia. The lecture was given on the 35th anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations, and covered America’s role in promoting stability, fostering democracy and human rights, as well as encouraging economic development. It also covered international issues and transnational crime.
On 26 June, ASEAN and the Chinese government concluded a two-day meeting regarding the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea (DOC). The meeting was intended to meet the following goals:
- Maintaining peace, stability, maritime security and safety and peaceful settlements of disputes on the basis of international laws.
- Enhancing the relationship between ASEAN and China.
On 17 November, Brazil acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, making it the first Latin American country to do so.
On 18 November, the 21st ASEAN Summit took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Mr. Le Luong Minh was appointed to serve as Secretary-General of ASEAN beginning in 2013.The body reiterated its support for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and full implementation of the SEANWFZ.
At the 18th ASEAN Summit, which took place in May, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia called upon member states of ASEAN to lower their dependency on fossil fuels and search for alternative methods to produce energy. Given the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, Mr. Yudhoyono stated that nuclear energy needs to be reexamined. On 1 November, China deposited its instrument of ratification of the Third Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
On 15 November, Thailand deposited its instrument of ratification of the Third Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
On 16 November, Brazil deposited its instrument of ratification of the Third Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
On 18 November, ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management. The signing ceremony acted as the official launch of the center. The Center is aimed at strengthening the collective response of ASEAN states to regional disasters.
On 16-17 December, the inaugural China-ASEAN Beijing Economic Forum (CABEF) took place. The forum reaffirmed the importance of bilateral dynamics between China and ASEAN and identified economic opportunities for the two sides.
On 24 March, the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratification to the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT), becoming the third state, after Singapore and Thailand, to ratify it. After six ASEAN member states ratify, ACCT will enter into force.
The 16th ASEAN Summit titled “Towards the Asean Community: from Vision to Action” was held on 9 April in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The Chairman’s statement reiterated commitment to the Southeast Asian NWFZ and its corresponding Plan of Action to achieve a zone free of nuclear weapons. He also encouraged nuclear weapon states to sign the SEANWFZ Protocol to further promote the nuclear weapon-free zone. Furthermore, the Chairman welcomed international efforts at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. and the NPT Review Conference in New York and reaffirmed support for a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula through peaceful negotiations. In his statement, the Chairman also emphasized the need to fully implement the ACCT and its Comprehensive Plan of Action.
On 4 May, H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, First Deputy-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, spoke on behalf of ASEAN at the 2010 NPT Review Conference in New York. In his statement, he noted that ASEAN continues to work with nuclear weapon states for the early signing of the SEANWFZ Protocol. Related to this, ASEAN submitted a Memorandum on Activities to demonstrate efforts undertaken through the SEANWFZ Treaty.
On 24 September at the 2nd ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting in New York, ASEAN welcomed the U.S. announcement at the 2010 NPT Review Conference that it is prepared to engage in consultations to resolve issues which have prevented it from acceding to the SEANWFZ Protocol. The statement also congratulated the United States on the successful outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit and promised the support of ASEAN countries to work towards preventing nuclear terrorism.
The 17th ASEAN Summit was held 28-30 October in Ha Noi – Viet Nam’s final summit as chair. The Chairman’s statement congratulated both the Philippines for presiding over the 2010 NPT Review Conference and Viet Nam for chairing ASEAN throughout the past year and helping to raise ASEAN’s profile in multilateral fora.
At the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit, held during the 17th ASEAN Summit, the Chairman’s statement reaffirmed support for a complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It also encouraged both parties to implement the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 and to resume the Six Party Talks and the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
On 27 February through 1 March and again 10 through 11 April, the 14th ASEAN Summit took place in Thailand in two parts. At the Summit, the Chairman’s Statement discussed the nature of the new ASEAN Charter, as this was the first gathering under the Charter.
The 29th ASEAN Chiefs of Police Conference was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 13-15 May. Among other subjects, the conference debated and adopted resolutions regarding drugs trafficking, terrorism, arms smuggling and human trafficking. Particular attention was paid to the issue of nations providing “mutual assistance” to each other to deal with these problems.
On 1-2 June, the Heads of State or Government of ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (ROK) met on Jeju Island to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK relations. At the summit, they discussed the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula and condemned the “recent underground nuclear test and missile launches undertaken by the DPRK.” Their statement called the tests “clear violations of the Six-Party agreements and the relevant UNSC resolutions and decisions,” and called for “an early resumption of the Six-Party talks.”
The 42nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting was held 19-20 July in Phuket, Thailand. The Ministers issued a joint communiqué which noted encouraging developments on nuclear disarmament and welcomed the negotiations between the United States and Russia. They also recalled the commitment of the People’s Republic of China to no first use of nuclear weapons. Also, the Ministers hoped that participating countries in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) would resume talks on disarmament, as called for in Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On 22 July, the 10th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEAN+3) was held in Phuket, Thailand. The Foreign Ministers expressed concern over recent DPRK nuclear tests and missile launches and urged the DPRK to comply with obligations under UNSC resolutions. They also encouraged early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the possible use of the ARF as a regional security forum including all participants to the Six-Party Talks.
On 23 July, both the United States and the European Union entered the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia.
On 23 October, the 15th ASEAN Summit was held in Thailand. In his statement, the Chairman called for the DPRK to comply with UNSC resolutions and for all parties to return to the Six-Party Talks. The Chairman also recognized the Philippines’ Presidency of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and encouraged ASEAN Member States to become signatories or parties to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) prior to the Review Conference.
On 7 January, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan from Thailand assumed the post of ASEAN Secretary-General, succeeding Mr. Ong Keng Yong.
The 28th ASEAN Chiefs of Police Conference took place from 25 to 29 May and adopted resolutions addressing cooperation in preventing terrorism and arms smuggling.
On 24 July, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia. Contracting Parties agree not to participate in any activity that constitutes a threat to the political and economic stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of another Contracting Party.
All 10 Member States ratified the ASEAN Charter ahead of the December goal, and the Charter entered into force on 15 December.
The 14th ASEAN Summit was scheduled to take place in Thailand 12-17 December, but it was postponed due to the political crisis in Thailand.
On 10 January, France and East Timor signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). In so doing, the two countries agreed not to attack or threaten the member states of ASEAN. East Timor once again voiced its hopes to eventually join ASEAN.
On 11-14 January, the 12th ASEAN Summit, postponed due to Typhoon Seniang, convened amid controversy regarding corruption and the overpricing of lamps used to light the routes to and among summit venues. On the first day of the summit, ASEAN signed five agreements: A Declaration Towards a Caring and Sharing Community, Declaration on the Blueprint for the ASEAN Charter, Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT).
ACCT contains provisions intended to ease prosecution and extradition of terrorism suspects. The convention also aims to strengthen the region’s law enforcement against terrorism and its entry into force demonstrates compliance with all relevant UN Conventions and Protocols pertaining to counter-terrorism.
At the 2nd East Asian Summit, members signed the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security and agreement which sets nonbinding targets for methods to achieve "reliable, adequate and affordable" energy into the future and to develop alternative sources of energy such as biofuels. Discussions centered on deepening integration, focused primarily around two economic initiatives: beginning a study on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) and examining Japan’s proposal for an Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). The EAS also attempted to improve relations with China through the signing of an agreement on the trade of services.
At the 10th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit held the same week, the chairman addressed the situation with the DPRK, calling for full implementation of UNSC resolutions 1695 and 1718. He also stressed the importance of arriving at a peaceful resolution of the problem through negotiations and expressed optimism about the role that ASEAN could play as an intermediary—helping to address both humanitarian, economic and security concerns in the region.
The 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and 14th ARF were held in Manila from 22 July through 2 August. At the Ministerial Meeting, participants reflected on the implementation of the South East Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. The Ministers called upon the NWS to ratify the protocols to the treaty and for the accession of Israel, India and Pakistan to the treaty.
In the days prior to the meeting, Ministers discussed the creation of an agency to monitor compliance with the SEANWFZ. The ministers also discussed their intentions to strengthen the regions relationship with the IAEA and capacity to implement safeguards.
The ASEAN members developed and adopted a Plan of Action for furthering implementation of the SEANWFZ. The Plan is intended to increase regional coordination in opposition to nuclear weapons and deepen regional participation in the relevant international agreements. Under the Plan of Action, States agree to pursue completion of IAEA safeguard agreements and accession to the Convention on Early Notification of Nuclear Accidents and regional emergency response plans. In addition, the states agreed to consider accession to other relevant instruments such as the CTBT and the counter-terrorism conventions related to nuclear weapons.
The 13th ASEAN Summit was held in Singapore 18-22 November. The focus of the meeting was on Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development. The potential increase in the use of nuclear energy was discussed in this regard. The members drafted an ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Environmental Sustainability to be signed at the 13th ASEAN Summit.
At the 39th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting from 24-25 July, the ministers issued a joint communiqué in which they voiced their concern over recent developments in North Korea—including the test firing of its Taepodong-2 missiles on 5 July—that could affect peace and security in the region. They emphasized the need for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and called upon concerned parties to utilize the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum as an opportunity to resume the Six-Party Talks towards a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue.
The 12th ASEAN Summit was postponed until January of 2007 due to Typhoon Seniang,
Mongolia and New Zealand acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) on 29 July, and Australia followed suit on 10 December. Timor Leste also expressed an interest in acceding to the TAC. ASEAN signed Joint Declarations on Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism with the Republic of Korea on 27 July and with Pakistan and New Zealand on 29 July. At the 38th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, ministers encouraged Canada to consider signing the same.
The 11th ASEAN summit convened at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 12-14 September. A landmark event was the signing of a Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter by its leaders. The summit saw the establishment of an Eminent Persons Group on the ASEAN Charter—comprising 10 highly distinguished and well respected citizens from ASEAN Member Countries—to examine and provide recommendations on the direction of ASEAN and the nature of the Charter. Accomplishments such as the implementation of the ASEAN Security Community, the establishment of the Inter-Sessional Support Group on Confidence Building and Preventive Diplomacy, and the setting up of the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, were duly noted. Leaders welcomed the 4th and 5th rounds of the Six-Party Talks held in July and November in Beijing, and called on all concerned parties to exert their utmost effort toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. They strongly condemned terrorism and reiterated the need to intensify their efforts to eliminate the root causes of terrorism at the bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels. Leaders also recognized the role of inter-faith dialogue in fighting the spread of terrorism and promoting understanding.
On 17 November, ASEAN and the United States issued a Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership whereby they pledged to step up cooperation in key areas spanning political, security, social, economic, and development spheres.
The 1st East Asia Summit was convened on 14 December, with a view to establishing closer and substantial relations between the member countries of ASEAN and the participating countries of India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. Leaders signed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the East India Summit wherein they stated that the summit would be a “forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern, and with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia.” They strongly endorsed the Joint Statement adopted at the 4th Round of the Six-Party Talks on 19 September. It was agreed that the East Asia summit would be held annually.
Efforts to combat terrorism and address proliferation issues remained crucial in 2004. These issues were designated as priority areas for cooperation between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, both within the dialogue frameworks and under the ARF process. During the year, ASEAN issued joint declarations with the United States, the European Union, India, China, Russia, and Australia on cooperation in counter-terrorism and transnational crime-fighting. In January, ASEAN issued a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese government regarding “cooperation in the field of non-traditional security issues,” agreeing to cooperative measures, such as information exchange and joint research in dealing with current concerns, including arms smuggling and terrorism. Subsequently, an ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC +3) took place on 10 January in Bangkok, with the Ministers adopting a concept plan to address transnational crimes in the following eight areas: terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, sea piracy, arms smuggling, money laundering, international economic crime, and cyber crime. The ministers also issued a joint communiqué in which they reiterated their commitment to combating terrorism and other forms of organized crime, and to cooperation in effectively developing the ASEAN Security Community. At the 4th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime in Bangkok on 8 January, the Ministers expressed a commitment to accelerate the implementation of the 1999 ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crimes. In addition, they discussed methods to promote effective legal cooperation and to strengthen exchange of intelligence and information in combating transnational crimes. Another significant January meeting was the 17th ASEAN-US Dialogue, held on 30 January in Bangkok. It featured discussion of such topics as the ASEAN-US Work Plan on Counter-Terrorism, the development of an ASEAN Security Community, and the importance of a nuclear weapons-free Korea.
The Bali Regional Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism, co-hosted by Australia and Indonesia, met on 4-5 February. Within a broad discussion of terrorism, the Ministers specifically noted the connection between international terrorism and the movement of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons materials and the need for cooperation in preventing this, and agreed on several recommendations regarding how to strengthen transnational crime prevention.
On 3 May, at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the ASEAN Member States submitted a working paper regarding the status of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. The paper addresses the establishment of the SEANWFZ as a means to “contribute towards general and complete nuclear disarmament”, and the creation of the SEANWFZ Commission and its Executive Committee to oversee compliance with the Treaty. It stresses that to be effective and operational, nuclear weapon states must accede to the Protocol to the Treaty and urges them to do so as soon as possible. Furthermore, it notes that ASEAN has been holding consultations with the five nuclear weapon states toward this end, but that only China has, thus far, reached an agreement with ASEAN regarding the protocol.
The 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the Post-Ministerial Conferences and the 11th ASEAN Regional Forum were all held between 29 June and 2 July in Jakarta, Indonesia. At the Ministerial Meeting, themed “Striving for Full Integration of ASEAN: A Prosperous, Caring and Peaceful Community” and chaired by H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, the Ministers issued a joint communiqué in which they reaffirmed their commitment to establishing an ASEAN Community comprising a Security Community, an Economic Community, and a Socio-Cultural Community by 2020, recommending that the Plans of Action for these be endorsed at the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane. Ministers also reiterated the significance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and noted the October 2003 accession of China and the Republic of India to the TAC, encouraging other non-Southeast Asian States to consider acceding to the Treaty as well. In addition, they addressed the state of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, again urging the accession of the Nuclear Weapon States to its terms, and noting that China is ready to sign the Treaty’s protocol.
The Ministers also addressed the issue of transnational crime and commended the Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and China regarding non-traditional security issues, emphasizing the need for cooperation in fighting terrorism, particularly within the context of the ASEAN-US Counterterrorism Work Plan and other related agreements.
Specific regional concerns addressed by the Ministers included the situations in Iraq, the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula. Regarding Iraq, the Ministers welcomed Iraqi sovereignty and UN Security Council Resolution 1546. In reference to Korea, they noted the impact of the nuclear issue, recognizing the importance of the Six Party Talks held in Beijing on 23-25 June and urging the continuation of efforts towards “a lasting solution to achieve peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
In his concluding statement at the Ministerial Meeting on 30 July, the Secretary-General noted “substantial progress in the implementation of decisions and directives of the 9th ASEAN Summit,” stating that the Ministers had reviewed efforts made in accordance with a six-year plan towards the attainment of ASEAN Vision 2020, and in preparation of the Vientiane Action Programme, its proposed successor, among other topics.
At the 5th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEAN+3), which convened on 1 July, Chairman H.E Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda issued a statement noting that the meeting focused on various regional issues, with special emphasis placed on developments in Korea. Once gain, in addition to addressing administrative and economic issues, the Ministers also welcomed the accession of Japan to the TAC and China’s readiness to sign to Protocol of the Treaty of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. The ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference Ten Plus One (PMC 10 +1) sessions on 1 July focused on “the overview and future direction of ASEAN cooperation with its Dialogue Partners”.
Another development during the series of meetings was the signing of an ASEAN-Russia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism at the ASEAN Regional Forum on 2 July as well as an ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism at the 10 + 1 meeting on 1 July.
Also, both Japan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan formally signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in Jakarta on 2 July. Japan had announced its intent to do so in December of 2003. Pakistan’s accession made it the 24th member of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
The 10th ASEAN Summit was held in Vientiane, Laos from 29-30 November. Leaders reaffirmed the high priority of political and security cooperation on the ASEAN agenda. They endorsed the Plan of Action of the ASEAN Security Community, a community established to enhance ASEAN's capacity through regional instruments and mechanisms in establishing regional norms and enhancing conflict prevention, resolution, and peace-building in the region. The establishment of a forum for ASEAN defense ministers was also endorsed. Leaders agreed on the urgent need to sustain cooperative activities in counter-terrorism. The establishment of a network of law enforcement agencies among ASEAN member countries was proposed.
Leaders endorsed the Vientiane Action Programme to implement the ASEAN Vision 2020 for the next six years and agreed to mobilize resources for this purpose. They also reaffirmed the role of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in maintaining peace and security in the region. Russia acceded to the TAC on 29 November, thereby becoming the second nuclear weapon state and UN Security Council member to sign the TAC after China. The Republic of Korea also acceded to the TAC on 27 November.
The ASEAN-Japan Joint Declaration for Co-operation in Counter-Terrorism was adopted at the 8th ASEAN-Japan summit on 30 November. At the ASEAN-Japan Senior Officials Meeting, Japan stated that it would like to advance cooperation with ASEAN in the specific areas of counter-terrorism and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the reduction of tension in the Korean Peninsula.
On 6 January, Ong Keng Yong, former Press Secretary to Singapore’s Prime Minister, assumed the position of Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a ceremony in Jakarta. Filipino Diplomat Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr., previously occupied the post. The transition took place at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.
On 19 March, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a statement on the situation in the Korean Peninsula at their informal meeting in Karambunei, Malaysia. The Foreign Ministers expressed their continued concern over the evolving situation in the Peninsula that could lead to a serious threat to peace, security, and stability in the whole Asia-Pacific region. They reiterated that the ARF remains an important forum for facilitating dialogue with the concerned parties about a lasting and durable solution, and urged its Chairman to continue his concerted efforts in this regard.
The Post-Ministerial Conference of the 36th ASEAN Ministerial meeting was held from 16-19 June in Phnom Penh, Cambodia under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Hor Namhong, the Cambodian Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all 10 ASEAN nations, the ASEAN Secretary-General, as well as Dialogue Partners from Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations Development Program attended the meeting. The representatives at the meeting exchanged views on the issues of conflict in the Middle East, terrorism, trafficking in persons, drugs, economic development, HIV/AIDS, and SARS. The ASEAN ministers also agreed upon cooperative arrangements with China, the United States, the European Union, and Russia in counter-terrorism and other non-traditional security issues. In addition, the Ministers also agreed to cooperate in the global effort to fight terrorism through international conventions as well as through law enforcement, defense, intelligence, immigration and customs, and financial systems. The Ministers condemned the violence in the Middle East and said that “both Israel and the Palestinian Authority shared the responsibility in maintaining peace, stability and law and order in the region.” The meeting recognized further cooperation to prevent HIV/AIDS and welcomed the successes in the fight against SARS, while also recognizing that the battle against SARS is not “yet over.”
In the Chairman’s statement at the ARF, views were expressed urging the DPRK to “resume cooperation with the IAEA” and to reverse its decision to “withdraw from the NPT.” The Ministers also emphasized that outstanding security and humanitarian issues should be addressed through increased dialogue. The United States Secretary of State Colin L. Powell addressed the Ministers during the meeting, welcoming the Chairman’s statement on North Korea and stressing the need for ASEAN’s assistance in achieving a diplomatic solution in North Korea through continued pressure from ASEAN.
On 7-8 October 2003, the Ninth ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia. Subsequently, the ASEAN leaders had the Seventh “ASEAN+3” Summit with leaders from China, Japan, and Republic of Korea. During the Summit, ASEAN leaders discussed in particular the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula, the recent developments on terrorism and the issue of Iraq and the Middle East.
Also during the Summit, on 7 October, the Ministers issued the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II), in which they pledged to achieve, by 2020, an “ASEAN Community” comprised of an “ASEAN Security Community”, along with an “ASEAN Economic Community” and an “ASEAN Socio-cultural Community.” It was envisaged that the ASEAN Security Community would increase ASEAN’s political and security cooperation, and would rely exclusively on peaceful means for the settlement of intraregional differences. The Community should also strengthen national and regional capacities to counter terrorism and other trans-national crimes, and ensure that the Southeast Asian region remains free of all weapons of mass destruction. To establish modalities for the Community, the ASEAN leaders agreed that Indonesia would develop a Plan of Action for the ASEAN Security Community.
On the second day of the Summit, the ASEAN leaders held a meeting with each of the leaders of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and India. In the meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao of China, they signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. In the Declaration, the ASEAN countries and China agreed to continue consultations on China’s intention to accede to the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone. The ASEAN leaders commended China for taking the initiative that led to the convening of the Six-Party talks to mitigate the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. They encouraged China to maintain its constructive role in the search for a political solution to the problem. The ASEAN countries and China also agreed to (1) expedite the implementation of the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues, (2) hold an ASEAN-China security-related dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and promote peace and stability in the region, and (3) follow-up the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. In addition, India and member countries of ASEAN signed a Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism on 8 October
Also on 8 October, both the People’s Republic of China and India formally acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, with the ASEAN member countries issuing a declaration of consent to this accession.
In a meeting with President Roh Moo Hyun of the Republic of Korea, the ASEAN leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful solution of the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue, and welcomed the convening of the Six-Party Talks as a positive step towards this end. They expressed their hope that the next talk would be held soon to maintain the momentum for dialogue, and that the ARF could be utilized as a forum to discuss this particular issue.
The ASEAN leaders and Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India held talks on the issue of terrorism and agreed to enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism. Both sides adopted the Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism.
On 12 December, during the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, Japan signed a declaration of its intent to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and ASEAN issued a declaration of consent to the accession., of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by Japan. ASEAN States and Japan also issued an ASEAN-Japan Plan of Action emphasizing economic, cultural, and security-related cooperation.
The 35th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting took place in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, on 29-30 July. The Ministers acknowledged that following the 2001 ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, ASEAN at all levels had undertaken practical measures and expressed its determination to further enhance ASEAN’s role and contribution in the fight against terrorism.
The Ministers welcomed on-going consultations between ASEAN and the nuclear weapon states (NWS) on the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty and urged the NWS to sign the Protocol to the Treaty as soon as possible.
In view of the US withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the Ministers welcomed the signing of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions between the Russian Federation and the United States on 24 May 2002. They noted the importance of this Treaty as a contribution to strategic balance, world peace, and long-term international security. They further called for the NWS to continue dialogue to look for new ideas and approaches to address the issue of nuclear disarmament.
The 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 23-24 July. The Ministers welcomed the progress in the implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty, stressed the importance of direct consultation between ASEAN, and the NWS and considered this significant progress towards encouraging the accession of the NWS to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty. In this connection, they welcomed the first direct consultation between ASEAN and the NWS in Hanoi on 19 May 2001, reaffirmed their support for this process, and called for continued consultations with the NWS. The Ministers also noted with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the overlapping confidence building measures (CBMs) and preventive diplomacy (PD).
The Ministers stressed the importance of achieving universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), called on the NWS to make further efforts towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons, noted the progress on negotiating a verification Protocol to the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC), noted the outcome of the UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held in New York on 9-20 July 2001, and expressed their hope that the Program of Action adopted by this conference would be implemented effectively. They also noted the recent dialogues among the major powers and concerned States on national missile defenses (NMD).
On 5-6 November, at the 7th ASEAN Summit at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, ASEAN Heads of State adopted a Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, in which they unequivocally condemned “in the strongest terms” the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and considered such acts as an attack against humanity and an assault on “all of us.” ASEAN Heads of State stated that they viewed acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed wherever, whenever and by whomsoever, as a profound threat to international peace and security. They rejected any attempt to link terrorism with any religion or race and committed to counter, prevent, and suppress all forms of terrorist acts in accordance with the UN Charter and other international law, especially taking into account the importance of all relevant UN resolutions. They shall consider joint practical counter-terrorism measures in line with specific circumstances in the region and in each member country. The Heads of State agreed on the practical steps to counter international terrorism, including review and strengthening of national mechanisms to combat international terrorism; early signing and/or ratification of or accession to all relevant anti-terrorism conventions including the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; deeper cooperation among front-line law enforcement agencies in combating terrorism and sharing “best practices”; enhanced information intelligence exchange to facilitate the flow of information, in particular, on terrorists and terrorist organizations, their movement and funding, and any other information needed to protect lives, property, and the security of all modes of travel; strengthened cooperation at bilateral, regional, and international levels in combating terrorism in a comprehensive manner affirming that at the international level the UN should play a major role in this regard, etc.
The Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations convened at the 33rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on 24-25 July under the chairmanship of Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Foreign Minister of Thailand. The Ministers welcomed the progress made in implementing the SEANWFZ Treaty and noted with satisfaction the establishment of all the various organs under the Treaty and the work undertaken by these organs, including consultations with the International Atomic Energy Agency. They welcomed China’s announcement made in July 1999 of its readiness to accede to the Protocol to the Treaty, and called on the other NWS to exercise greater flexibility in consultations on the Protocol. The Ministers reiterated importance of CBMs and PD in the intra-regional relations and stressed the importance of continued participation of defense and military officials in the ARF process.
The Ministers reiterated the importance of achieving universal adherence to the CTBT and the NPT and welcomed the convening of the NPT Review Conference 2000 in New York on 24 April-19 May and hoped that it would create momentum towards the implementation of concrete measures on nuclear disarmament by the NWS. In this regard, the Ministers affirmed the unanimous conclusion of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996 that “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” The Ministers stressed the importance for all States that had not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to consider doing so at the earliest opportunity and noted the progress in negotiating the BTWC verification Protocol by the Ad Hoc-Group of the State Parties to the BTWC.
At their 6th Meeting in Singapore from 23 to 24 July, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers convened the Commission of the SEANWFZ Treaty for the first time. The Commission ordered the preparation of the draft rules of procedure and initiation of all necessary actions in compliance with the Treaty, including consultations with the NWS, the IAEA, and other related bodies. The Ministers noted the consultations which had taken place between the ASEAN Working Group on ZOPFAN and the SEANWFZ and the NWS and urged the NWS to accede to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty as another means of enhancing the regional security environment.
The Ministers noted the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction and agreed to support initiatives to enhance international cooperation on de-mining, including training, and in the removal of unexploded ordinance as well as the rehabilitation of mine victims.
The 6th ASEAN Summit was held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 15 to 16 December. Participants issued the Hanoi Declaration in which States pledged to intensify their efforts to address arms smuggling, and to intensify consultations with NWS with a view to their accession to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty. The Hanoi Plan of Action, also adopted at the Summit, also called for the convening of the Commission for the SEANWFZ to oversee implementation and ensure compliance with the Treaty. The ASEAN countries reaffirmed their support for and active participation in all efforts to achieve the objective of general and complete disarmament, especially the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and of other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
At the 5th Ministerial Meeting in Manila from 24 to 25 July, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN issued a Joint Communiqué in which they reiterated that signature of the SEANWFZ Protocol by the NWS would equal a pledge of support for nuclear disarmament and nuclear-weapon-free zones. The Communiqué also addressed the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, by stating their view that the recent tests in South Asia were not conducive to the full realization of the Treaty.
The “ASEAN Vision 2020” adopted in Kuala Lumpur on 15 December, by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN, envisioned a “Concert of Southeast Asian Nations” to be in 2020 a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, as envisaged in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration of 1971. It envisioned a Southeast Asia free from nuclear weapons, with all the NWS committed to the purposes of the SANWFZ Treaty through their adherence to its Protocol. It also envisioned the region to be free from all other WMD, and the ASEAN Regional Forum as an established means for confidence-building and preventive diplomacy and for promoting conflict-resolution.
The 29th Annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, involving Foreign Ministers, issued a communiqué in Jakarta on 21 July. It called for the expeditious ratification of the SEANWFZ Treaty, and for an end to nuclear testing and the conclusion of a CTBT.
At the 5th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, on 15 December, ASEAN leaders signed the SEANWFZ Treaty. The parties to the SEANWFZ comprise the current 10 ASEAN members. The notion of a SEANWFZ dates back to 27 November 1971, when the original five members of the ASEAN meeting in Kuala Lumpur signed a Declaration on a [ASEAN] Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN). None of the NWS had yet signed the Protocols, largely due to US and French objections regarding the unequivocal nature of security assurances and over the definitions of territory (including exclusive economic zones).
Point of Contact
The ASEAN Secretariat:
70-A Jalan Sisingamangaraja
Phone: (62-21) 726-2991, 724-3372
Fax: (62-21) 739-8234, 724-3504
Telex: 47213, 47214 ASEAN-JKT
ASEAN was established in August 1967 with the purpose of accelerating the economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region, and promoting regional peace and stability.