Presentation by Professor Dr. Surakiat Satienthai

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Professor Dr. Surakiat Satienthai, Chair Professor, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs …

Professor Dr. Surakiat Satienthai, Chair Professor, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Looking Towards ASEAN community 2015: Constraints, Obstacles and Opportunities” seminar on 21 April 2011 at Chulalongkorn University

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  • 1. Looking Towards ASEAN Community 2015:
    Constraints, Obstacles and Opportunities
    By
    Professor Dr.SurakiartSathirathai
    Former Deputy Prime Minister and
    Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
    Distinguished Scholar, Chulalongkorn University
    Organized by
    Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
    In cooperation with
    Siam Intelligence Unit (SIU)
    April 21st, 2011
    Room 105, MahaChulalongkorn Building,
    Chulalongkorn University
  • 2. Positive Developments
    1) The first time to have “Community” as the
    target thus, being more visible in the world
    radar screen.
    2) The first time to have a roadmap of ASEAN
    Community, i.e. to have 3 pillars
    ASC
    AEC all with action plans
    ASCC
  • 3. 3) There has been relatively concrete negotiation on action plans and blueprint, many programs are tangible, doable.
    4) There have been FTAs between ASEAN and other countries despite the fact that there is no Trade Minister of ASEAN (ASEAN-China, ASEAN- Japan etc.)
  • 4. 5) ASEAN activities have been more visible: in economic field, tourism cooperation, cultural, educational, youth activities, more people to people contact under ASEAN roof, and more media coverage about
    ASEAN community target.
    6) There have been attempts to create the sense of community eg. ASEAN VISA, ASEAN flags to fly with national flags at all
    government buildings, and embassies.
  • 5. 7) More ASEAN stands on selected world issues eg. Myanmar.
    - Therefore open intra and extra ASEAN opportunities in many fields as a large market of almost 600 million people.
  • 6. II. Constraints for Becoming
    “ASEAN Community”
    1) There is a lack of the sense of ownership, sense of participation and therefore, lack of the sense of community in the heart and
    mind of the people of ASEAN.
  • 7. a) There is a lack of interactions among civil societies.
    For ASEAN
    For Extra – ASEAN, Eg. Joint research with
    Dialogue partners, or research on dialogue partners’ strategies
    towards ASEAN
  • 8. b) There is a lack of people participation in the ASEAN.
    decision making process and in policy and strategy formulation. Most of these issues rest in the hand of bureaucrats, politicians from the executive branch of each country.
  • 9. c) There are no common external policies.
    - No common foreign policy – eg. 9/11, Iraq
    - No common security policy – start a bit on Malacca straits
    - No common defense policy
    - No common external ec. relations policy eg. no Common External Tariff
    - No common governance policy
    - No harmonization of legal system eg. VAT. Immigration law, Transportation Law etc.
  • 10. d) Lack of “ASEAN Affairs Come First” principle
    eg. Compare to EU
    e) Lack of regular informal meetings among leaders, ministers and policy makers from all branches of each country (Speakers, MPs, Judges)
    But, may be appropriate that ASEAN does not have these common policies because, if so A SEAN might have not been intact until today. We, therefore, have a sense of community in “ASEAN Way”.
  • 11. 2) ASEAN is too sensitive to outside pressure
    Eg. Myanmar, responded to periodic outside pressures rather than having ASEAN’s initiative on roadmap for democracy and national reconciliation in Myanmar.
  • 12. 3) Domestic Political Problems of Each Member
    Thailand - could not organize ASEAN and EAS summits in 2009
    - could not detach bilateral issue between Thailand and Cambodia from ASEAN affairs. Eg. Sharp exchanges through the press between two leaders at the opening of ASEAN summit in Hua-Hin
  • 13. 4) Lack of Confidence on the Progress for
    Conflict Avoidance:
    Confidence Building Preventive Diplomacy Conflict Resolution
    Aceh – positive
    Myanmar - domestic affairs VS. Roadmap for Democracy, and Bangkok Process in 2003
  • 14. Troika?
    Role of ASEAN Chair?
    Role of Friends of The Chair?
    Shuttle Diplomacy?
    Thailand VS Cambodia – Despite Thailand’s repeated references to the conflict as bilateral, the role of third party is clearly seen.
  • 15. — Shuttle diplomacy by Indonesian FM as ASEAN Chair.
    — Presence of ASEAN Chair at UNSC
    — UNSC tasks ASEAN to implement ceasefire
    — Almost unprecedented Special (emergency) ASEAN FM meeting on Thailand – Cambodia conflicts and agreement by both parties for Indonesian observer team to implement ceasefire.
  • 16. — Meeting of bilateral GBC (later cancelled) and JBC between Thailand and Cambodia In Indonesia with good office and presence of Indonesian FM as ASEAN Chairs.
    — This is a test for conflict avoidance and dispute resolution in ASEAN.
    — If ASEAN attempt fails, this issue can be a setback for ASEAN and can affect confidence in ASEAN to resolve internal conflicts, thus affecting confidence for ASEAN
    community in 2015
  • 17. 5) Lack of or Little Intra – Regional Grouping Relations
    ASEAN-SAARC ASEAN-EU
    ASEAN-GCC ASEAN-PIF
    ASEAN-NEPAD ASEAN-CARICOM
    ASEAN and Sub-regional groupings in Africa, Latin America.
    Thus, no compelling force for ASEAN to get together and formulate ASEAN strategy, position ad policies towards other regional groupings.
  • 18. 6) Lack of Common Positions in Multi-Lateral Fora
    - UN (UNSC, UNGA, Human Rights Council, UNCTAD, etc)
    - WTO
    - APEC
    - ASEM
    - UNFCCC (Climate change)
    The common positions (on even certain topics) will raise consciousness of being a community.
  • 19. 7) Individual Country still has a High Sense of
    “National Issue”
    — Ec. – Reluctant to liberalize even
    among ASEAN.
    — Security – Domestic Affairs.
    — Social/political issues eg. Labour,
    Human Rights, Democracy,
    etc. – Domestic affairs.
  • 20. 8) lack of Roadmap for ASEAN’s Asia Architecture
    — Risk being influenced or led by
    major powers.
    — Risk losing ASEAN centrality, not to
    be in the driver seat eg. ASEAN+3
    ASEAN+8 (EAS), GMS, EAFTA, ACD.
    — Unclear of how EAS, ACD could lead
    to Asia community.
  • 21. 9) Need Further Focus on ASEAN Connectivity.
    — Lack of relationship between land and sea link to make all ASEAN participate in
    ASEAN connectivity.
    — Western Corridor, too slow and unclear to
    make EWEC attractive to outsiders.
    — Need much in depth understanding of
    China’s strategy for Yunnan and Pan Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation which
    focuses on Guangxi Zhuang to connect with ASEAN.
  • 22. Conclusion
    1) ASEAN + non ASEAN people must understand that ASEAN community actually is “ASEAN way Community”.
    2) Certain problem may not be a problems but rather ASEAN normal practice:
    - Non-legalistic, non-adversarial society
    - Step by step
    But if look at (+expect) ASEAN to be like EU, or AU or other regional group  problem because it’s not ASEAN
  • 23. 3) Problems, obstacles, constraints may be strength of ASEAN
    - Step - by – step, gradual process.
    - Focus on confidence building, building comfort level.
    - Non – legalistic, non – adversarial society.
    - Acknowledging differences and building strength out of diversity.
  • 24. 4) Perhaps need once more an “Eminent Person Group” to bring in proposals and ideas from all sectors to analyse and to understand the real characteristic of ASEAN Community.
  • 25. Looking Towards ASEAN Community 2015:
    Constraints, Obstacles and Opportunities
    By
    Professor Dr.SurakiartSathirathai
    Former Deputy Prime Minister and
    Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
    Distinguished Scholar, Chulalongkorn University
    Organized by
    Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
    In cooperation with
    Siam Intelligence Unit (SIU)
    April 21st, 2011
    Room 105, MahaChulalongkorn Building,
    Chulalongkorn University