ASEAN Current Affairs

2016 ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane, Laos

The 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit was held in Vientiane, Laos from 6th to 8th September 2016.

Prime Minister of the Lao PDR H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith was Chairperson of the summit. The theme of the summit was “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”.

The summit was attended by the leaders of all 10-member nations of ASEAN viz. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR (host), , Vietnam,  Myanmar and Cambodia.

India-ASEAN

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had represented India at the ASEAN summit at the 14th ASEAN-India summit.
  • ASEAN-India adopted a document aiming at politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible and people oriented people centered ASEAN-India Community.
  • The document recognizes the vital importance of the planned review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods (AITIG) Agreement.
  • It seeks to ensure that the agreement is trade-facilitative and remains relevant to the current global trading practices.
  • The document also emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability, unimpeded commerce, freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep concern over the rising export of terror in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
  • He also mentioned that export of terror is common security threat to the region and there was need for a coordinated response from the ASEAN member nations to combat it.

About Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • ASEAN is a group of 10 South Asian nations which came into existence on August 8, 1967 after ASEAN declaration (also known as Bangkok declaration).
  • It is a regional organisation comprising that aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members.
  • Principal aims: (i) Accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, (ii) Protection of regional stability and the provision of a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.
  • Motto: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”
  • 10 Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Founder countries of ASEAN: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand
  • Enlargement: The group was expanded by adding 5 more nations which are Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Cambodia was the last entrant added in the group in 1999.

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China, ASEAN countries agree to form South China Sea framework

China and ten member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to form a framework for a code of conduct to ease tension in disputed South China Sea.

The agreement was reached between both sides during a meeting at Inner Mongolia in northern China held on August 15 and 16, 2016.

Key Facts

  • The two sides also agreed to get the framework for the code of conduct done by mid-2017.
  • They also approved guidelines for a China-ASEAN hotline for use during maritime emergencies.
  • They also agreed that a pact on unplanned maritime encounters signed by countries in the region in 2014 is applied to the SCS.

Comment

  • This decision is considered as a significant rapprochement between China and ASEAN bloc, especially after Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling against China in July 2016.
  • The PCA had ruled that China has no historical title over the disputed South China Sea and it has breached the Philippines sovereign rights. However, China had dismissed the ruling and had urged bilateral talks to resolve the issue.

Background

Since 2010, China and the 10 members of ASEAN have been discussing a set of rules aimed at avoiding conflict among rival claimants in the busy waterway in South China Sea. China based on historical assumptions has claimed almost the entire South China Sea as its part. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan (not member) also have claimed their rights in the sea through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually and is believed to be rich in energy deposits.

10 ASEAN Members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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