The year 2017 marked the 50th year of the establishment of ASEAN. Over the last five decades the association has continued to evolve in its scope and function. It must be realized that ASEAN came into existence due to the political factors which prevailed at that time. Back in 1967, as the region was filled with conflict, the establishment of a multilateral institution was needed, in order to help bring peace, stability, and prosperity, which led to the establishment of ASEAN.
Southeast Asia has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last fifty years in terms of the political, economic, and socio-cultural aspects, with the demand ever-increasing for cooperation in multiple levels.1 Enlargement is one of the major outcome in the evolution of the association. In this process ASEAN able to create a physical space and a sense of regionalism, which is distinct from its surrounding neighbours.2 With the growing cloud of anti-globalization and protectionism, there is a growing urgency to build as well as strengthen a community of states. This emerging global alignment is pushing ASEAN towards preserving the ideals of multilateralism and the multilateral order, which has till date benefitted this regional grouping. Thus, it is this intra and inter economic as well as security cooperation that the association wants to continue fostering, while adapting to the new realities and challenges.
It is in this context that this paper would assess the twin objectives of ASEAN for which it was formed in 1967; to deliver economic prosperity and peace. Security and economy remains to be the underlying objective of ASEAN and it is in this context that the paper would incorporate the outcomes of the various ASEAN Ministerial meetings in 2017, in order to understand the evolution of the association in the context of the persisting as well as the evolving challenges.
The Economic Dimension
With the changing economic and strategic dimensions in the Asia Pacific region; ASEAN felt a greater urgency to expand its activities and cooperation beyond its original raison d’être. In 1972, a United Nations team of experts recommended that ASEAN states should undertake a number of measures which would accelerate their industrial development on a regional scale through closer regional economic integration. These measures included trade liberalization through the exchange of preferential tariff, complementarity agreements and regional investment projects. At the Bali Summit in 1976, ASEAN leaders adopted two landmark treaties which ushered in greater economic cooperation; these were the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord. Both the treaties essentially called for active promotion and cooperation in the economic field, including the adoption of regional strategies for economic development. The rationale for this closer economic integration in ASEAN was based on the argument that a large combined ASEAN market, in the form of an ASEAN Free Trade Area, would encourage industrial development and intra-regional trade. Thus, the long term goal is of setting up a free trade area, or a common market in Southeast Asia, similar to the European Union (EU).3
With the advent of globalisation ASEAN sought deeper economic integration in the early 1990s brought about by a market-driven and export-oriented development model. Economic cooperation injected a new sense of purpose for ASEAN and this paved the way for the conclusion of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) in 1992 aiming at eliminating all tariff lines in intra-regional trade. The signing of the ASEAN Charter on November 20, 2007, in Singapore during the 13th ASEAN Summit was an important landmark, as it helped not only to codify ASEAN norms, rules, and values, but also established a proper institutional framework in support of ASEAN Community building. The AFTA and the subsequent ASEAN economic projects provided the building blocks for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) launched in 2015.4 This multilateral approach towards securing economic growth has contributed positively, as the ASEAN economies have shown remarkable growth, in term of GDP which constitutes 3.3 percent of the total Global GDP in 2016. The spirit of peaceful cooperation has been dubbed the ‘ASEAN Way’ and has been accompanied by impressive growth over the last fifty years. ASEAN today represents the world’s seventh-largest market with the third-largest labour force, and is projected to become the fourth-largest economic bloc by 2030.5
Figure 1: GDP Growth of ASEAN States 2016-20176
This growth seems to be on an upwards trajectory when one compares the individual GDP of the ASEAN nations, as provided in Figure 1. According to data from the Asian Development Bank being projected into the bar diagram, it can be seen that between 2016 and 2017 (estimated) the GDP of all the ten ASEAN states would continue to increase – expect Myanmar and Vietnam which already are already at a high GDP rate of growth. One of the major attribute for it’s positive economic performance could be the increasing sectoral specialization and competitive advantage in many of the ASEAN economies. At the 31st ASEAN Summit held in Manila on November 13, 2017, the members welcomed the positive growth outlook for ASEAN’s economy projected to register a stronger growth of five percent in 2017. The foreign direct investments at the end of 2016 was USD 98 billion of which 25.2 percent was intra –ASEAN, and this total FDI in 2017 is expected to be higher with the growing investors’ confidence in the region and the expected recovery in global FDI flows. Further, ASEAN’s merchandise trade in 2016 stood at USD 2.2 trillion of which 23.1 percent was intra-ASEAN.7 In comparison in 2015, the proportion of intra- EU trade stood at 63 percent, since traditionally the EU member states as a whole have traded goods more with other member states than with countries outside the EU.8
Figure 2: ASEAN Trade in Goods with Dialogue Partners9
The pie chart in Figure 2 indicates ASEAN’s trade with its dialogue partners in percentage. China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner with a trade value of US $ 345,416 million and constituting 15.2 % of the trade. This is followed by Japan, EU-28, USA, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and India whose total trade valued at US$ 58.584 million and constituted to be at 2.5%.10 In terms of foreign direct investments at the end of 2015, after ASEAN’s whose total intra-FDI inflows accounted for 18.4 percent, the EU is the largest in terms of FDI inflows at 16.7 percent followed by Japan (14.5%), USA (11.3%), and China (6.8%).11
According to the former ASEAN’s Secretary General Le Luong Minh, ASEAN’s economic integration success should not be assessed on the basis of economic performance alone but also on the basis of mutually shared benefits across and within its Member States. Mr Minh states that ASEAN’s pursuit to sustain the region’s economic dynamism has always been nuanced by equity considerations, exemplified by capacity building and technical assistance. Further, ASEAN’s coherent and outward-looking approach in forging its external economic relations is based on the realization that integration into the global economy complements ASEAN’s pursuit of regional economic integration. There has also been an expansion of the existing Free Trade agreements, in their scope, with ASEAN playing a central role in advancing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations involving ASEAN and its six FTA Partners towards its conclusion in a timely manner.12 These steps become necessary if ASEAN wants to move towards setting up a single market like the EU. The single or internal market in the EU is a market where goods, services, capital and people can move freely. The free movement of goods principle requires that national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU be removed. Further, because the member states of the EU share a single market and a single external border, they also have a single trade policy, thus undertaking trade negotiations with the World Trade Organisation and other individual trading partners collectively.13
Policy Initiatives towards Economic Integration
Challenges towards the Economic Integration
Capacity building is one of the major needs amongst ASEAN states in order to continue with their growth. For instance the manufacturing sector in ASEAN has fueled economic development for the last few decades. This development model however, faces challenge with the advancement taking place in the means of production through the incorporation of advance technologies into the mode of production. New innovations such as robotic automation, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, require the necessary infrastructure, not only in terms of the physical but also in terms of capacity and capability building. This would require major collaboration in order to overcome the challenges and make individual ASEAN states well-prepared in order to adopt the new technologies as an enabler to their businesses and continued economic growth.19 Further the region has not achieved the type of economic integration like establishing a common currency or a common banking system like that in EU as the ASEAN economies remain too diverse culturally, economically, and politically.20
Further, there is the challenge to economic growth and integration arising from the growing cloud of protectionism and anti-globalization arising in the West. At the 18th ASEAN Plus Three (ATP) Foreign Ministerial meeting held on August 7, 2017, Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono welcomed the APT’s ties on the “financial and economic front” citing the need for these countries to cooperate with ASEAN to maintain the free trade regime in the rise of protectionism. Tokyo agreed to “closely” cooperate with the ASEAN countries, China and South Korea “in order to increase the predictability of a regional or world economic crisis”. Japan also stated that it will make efforts to combat "growing protectionism," taking a clear stand against trade-restraining moves. China’s foreign affairs minister Wang Yi stated that “At the backdrop of anti-globalization and emerging protectionism, it is important for the Ten Plus Three countries to shoulder responsibility of remaining a vehicle for deep and practical cooperation and promote the East Asia community”. Republic of Korea foreign affairs minister Kang Kyung-wha said that the problems that ASEAN face today are “far more complex and interconnected than ever before,” citing the threats of terrorism, an anti-globalization sentiment, and a rising protectionism which are “fueling global economic and political uncertainty.”21
The Security Dimension
The maintenance of an environment of security and stability in the region, which has been one of the two principle objectives of the association, continues to face challenges from traditional as well as non-traditional threats. The ongoing disputes in the maritime front along with the unresolved land delimitation issue amongst ASEAN member states continues to exert pressure on the general security in the region. There is also the growing concern over the increasing activities of various extremist elements in the region along with security challenges being faced towards the smooth conduct of marine activities. Thus, security challenges have in a way pushed individual ASEAN states to continue increasing their expenditure towards defence. According to estimates by SIPRI, military expenditure in Asia and Oceania region in 2016 amounted to USD 450 billion, out of which USD 41.9 billion was from the region of Southeast Asia. SIPRI’s data reveal that between 2015-16, there has been an increase of 5.1 percent in the military expenditure amongst the states in Southeast Asia. Further there has been a 47 percent increase in the military expenditure in the region between 2007-16.22 Figure 3 indicate the rising military expenditure amongst the traditional high military spenders in ASEAN; namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, between 1992-2016.
Figure 3: Military Expenditure by Country, 1992-201623 (Figures in US $ million)
There has been an upward trend in terms of military expenditure amongst the five ASEAN states. Thailand in the 1980s and the early 1990s was the largest military spender; however after 1995 Singapore followed by Indonesia has overtaken Thailand as the first and second place respectively, in terms of military expenditure in the region. Factors such as the Asian financial crisis had a major impact on the slight decline on military expenditure while external as well as domestic security challenges led to a constant rise on the military budget amongst the five ASEAN states.
Figure 4: Military Expenditure for Vietnam and Myanmar, 20012-201624 (Figures in US $ million)
Amongst the other big military spenders in the ASEAN states, Vietnam and Myanmar, have also been increasing their military expenditure as indicated in Figure 4. Myanmar faces internal security challenges along with the unresolved boundary issues with Thailand. Vietnam meanwhile has the growing maritime challenge against China in the South China Sea and has been one of the ASEAN states to voice its opposition to the militarization in the disputed marine space. Some of the major security concern faced in the region today, which has prompted the surge in its defence expenditure along with some of the policy initiatives towards addressing these challenges, are as follows.
The Unsettled South China Sea Dispute
According to SIPRI, the ongoing tension between China and several Southeast Asian countries, over claims in the South China Sea, has in a way helped the governments to continue to justify the need to modernize their military capabilities, and increase their military spending. Also the continued growth in the economic front being witnessed in Southeast Asia has made it possible to increase military spending in the individual ASEAN member states.25 At the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila on August 6, 2017, the frame work of a code of conduct on the South China Sea was adopted by the Southeast Asia’s Foreign ministers. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi emphasised that the framework is not an instrument to settle the territorial disputes but is being pursuit with the objective to promote mutual trust, cooperation and confidence, prevent incidents, manage incidents should they occur and create a favourable environment for the peaceful resolution of disputes.26 The COC is not a legally-binding code and is not an instrument to settle territorial disputes or maritime delimitation issue, rather it is a rule-based document with a set of norms to guide the parties and promote maritime cooperation in the disputed waters. Thus, this document is a mere declaration that calls on claimants to exercise restraint and stop new occupation in the South China Sea.27
Philippines’s President Rodrigo Duterte at the 30th ASEAN Summit held in April 2017 avoided mentioning of the lingering territorial disputes in the region, and instead stressed more on building the ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) and the blueprint for ASEAN Socio Cultural Community. The Chairman’s statement excluded references to militarization or artificial island building. The members stressed more accountability and transparency in their respective civil societies, stressing on capacity building. It was reported that there was a general feeling amongst some of the ASEAN leadership that disputes, which should have been discussed, were not mentioned. However, the communiqué issued during the ASEAN Foreign Ministerial meeting as part of the 50th years celebration held in August in 2017, as well as the Chairman’s statement of the 31st ASEAN Summit held on November 13, 2017, had reference to the dispute that was consciously avoided. It remained critical of military-fortification as well as island buildings (without directly mentioning any nation) as well was supportive of the Framework of the recently agreed upon Code of Conduct for the resolution of territorial disputes amicably, which however is not a legally binding framework or document.28
At the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)29 that was held in Manila on August 7, 2017, the Ministers welcomed the improving maritime cooperation between ASEAN and its partner nations. They also welcomed the improving cooperation between ASEAN and China and expressed the need to conclude the negotiations on the framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). The Ministers recognised the benefits that would be gained from having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability, and sustainable development.30
On the issue of establishing a regional security architecture as well as for decreasing the mistrust and acrimony in the region with regard to South China Sea, the communiqué stressed on the need to exercise self-restraint, and the need to find a peaceful resolution in accordance to international laws (UNCLOS). The communiqué also stressed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and over - flight above the South China Sea. There is a need of non-militarisation and a substantive negotiation on the Code of Conduct in between ASEAN members and China for the conclusion of an effective COC on a mutually-agreed timeline. The communiqué also looked forward to the operationalisation of the joint statement on the observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea.31
The ADMM- Plus meeting held on October 24, 2017, noted the joint efforts in promoting practical cooperation and collaboration on maritime security. The meeting also noted the importance of the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), in order to build mutual trust and confidence and maintain peace, security, and stability in the region. The peaceful resolution of disputes, non-militarisation and self-restrain, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.32
Countering the Challenge from Terrorism
Security challenges from the growing incidence of terrorist attacks is also pushing ASEAN states towards increasing their force modernization along with expanding the role of ASEAN in terms of undertaking collaboration and cooperation in order to address the emerging security challenges. The recently concluded three month siege in the Southern Philippines state of Marawi did leave a deep impression amongst the ASEAN states and provided the need towards countering through cooperative as well as collaborative efforts. While discussing about the threats of countering of radicalisation and violent extremism conducive to terrorism and other security threats, such as those posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and cross-border terrorism within the region, the communiqué from the latest ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, looked forward towards the adoption of the revised ASEAN Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism (ACPoA on CT) in forthcoming ministerial meetings. At the 11th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) which was held on October 23, 2017, at Clark Freeport in the north of Manila, Singapore assumed the chairmanship of the ADMM. Its Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, stated that it will focus on three ‘key thrusts’; promote regional counter-terrorism collaboration, grow collective capability for chemical, biological, and radiological threats, and promulgate the use of practical confidence-building measures in the aviation and maritime domain.33
Singapore in particular said that it will step-up counter-terrorism collaboration between ASEAN defence establishments during its chairmanship of the ADMM. The rise of religious radicalism and terrorism in the region is seen as ASEAN’s biggest security threat. Thus, Indonesia at the ADMM proposed the creation of a “mini-Interpol” that would involve six countries in the region sharing intelligence through the “Our Eyes” Initiative. Under this initiative, each participating country would create a new unit for sharing intelligence between them, while the person in charge from each country would be expected to maintain communications on a regular basis about the collection of information.34 The Chairman’s statement of the 24th ARF meeting held in August 7, 2017, laid out work plans for counterterrorism and transnational crimes. All parties present at the ARF meeting reaffirmed their commitment by recalling the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT). The Ministers made strong commitment to enhancing cooperation and undertake effective measures in countering terrorism, covered under the prevention and suppression of terrorist acts on the basis of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS).35
The Korean Peninsula
At the 24th ARF, development in the Korean Peninsula took centre stage, where the members voiced their support for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, while also calling for the exercise of self-restrain and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tension. The ARF also called upon North Korea, as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to the realisation of lasting peace, stability, friendship, and prosperity of the region.36
The ministers emphasised the importance of the ARF as the primary forum for constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of mutual interest and concern in the Asia-Pacific region37.. The Ministers highlighted the importance of ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement as well as the ARF Work Plans under the respective priorities areas within the ARF process.38 The ministers reiterated the importance of strengthening international cooperative efforts in nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as in the elimination of chemical weapons stockpiles and non-proliferation of chemical weapons.39 At the ASEAN Summit held on November 13, 2017, while identifying the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as the key code of conduct governing inter-state relations in the region and a foundation for the maintenance of regional peace and security, the communiqué appreciated the implementation of 75% of the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Blueprint 2025, agreeing to extend the period of the Plan of Action to implement in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty.40
Maritime Security Challenge
In Maritime Security has become a major necessity due to the complexity of threats and the sea being too large to be minded by a single nation. Security challenge such as piracy, the smuggling of drugs and weapons, the illegal poaching of resources including fishery, and the need to overcome the various means of exploration and extraction of resources which is done in a sustainable manner needs to be addressed. The meeting of the 4th ADMM Plus held in October 2017, called on the need to sustain as well as intensify maritime cooperation including HADR, while also addressing new security challenges in the marine and cyber space. On the issue of maritime security and cooperation, all ASEAN members saw the need of ‘continued constructive dialogues on issues of common interest and concern, marine scientific research, maritime domain awareness, and marine environment and protection’. They appreciated the endeavour of bringing in joint platform of maritime patrol, like the Trilateral Maritime Patrol carried out by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines under the purview of Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA), the communiqué reiterated its support for ADMM and ADMM Plus.41
The ARF in its 24th Ministrial Meeting noted on the continuity towards strengthening the various ARF’s Work Plans by engaging in international and regional cooperation and constructive dialogue. On maritime security which was adopted as a ARF Work Plan at the 11th ARF in July 2011, the Ministers looked at on strengthening maritime security and safety, and protection of the marine environment, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and other crimes at sea, through the ARF and other ASEAN led-mechanisms such as the AMF and EAMF, ADMM, ADMM- Plus, and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). 42
The Socio Cultural Dimension
The socio - cultural dimension is a major pillar in the establishment of the ASEAN community. The ASEAN is not only an association of governments, business enterprises, and non-government organisations but is also an exercise in building and strengthening the relationships amongst peoples in the region. A major component of the socio-cultural pillar of the ASEAN community is human resource development.43 Based on the internal development needs of member countries, the ASEAN states launched the idea of building an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) in their ASEAN Vision 2020, which facilitated its launch in 2015. The ASEAN Community ascertains that the goal of ASEAN’s founding fathers of improving the lives of its people is reflected on the region’s economic and cultural development, social progress, regional peace and security, collaboration, mutual assistance in training and research, improvement of living standards, promotion of Southeast Asian studies and cooperation with regional and international organisations. It has been able to
There still have been some challenges that ASEAN has not been able to fully eradicate from the region. In fields of education, alienation of specific communities, rising violence and religious extremism, economic and social inequalities, and various other challenges still remain major hurdles in the process of nation building as well integrating the entire region. Aspiring to a greater notion of social integration will help transform domestic political agenda and building on the achievement of the ASCC should be a key force. There should be the participation of the people, instead of elite groups in the process of building and integrating into a single community, which has been possible in Europe. Building “Community” must focus on encouraging, assisting, and, if need be, pressuring the ASEAN members to promote good governance, strengthen the rule of law, build an inclusive economy, and defend human rights and representative democracy.
India and ASEAN, socio-culturally, are both committed to transforming themselves into inclusive societies. For attaining this objective, they will benefit much through increased mutual awareness, extensive but focused dialogue, and mutual learning from each other’s experiences and best practices. The current government-controlled, top-down approach has its obvious limitations. It needs to be supplemented and enhanced by a process of dialogue involving the leaderships of youth, women and weaker sections of our society, which covers all ASEAN countries and different parts of India, especially Northeast, eastern India, and southern India. There is also significant scope in the domain of education in between ASEAN and India, with institutional linkages, language and cultural centres and exchange of students. There is still significant lack of awareness and knowledge about India and its socio-cultural heritage in the people living in ASEAN nations. There should be joint mechanisms which can fill up this disconnect. All efforts should be made to bring together artists, the culture people, think tanks and thought leaders, media representatives and others, moving beyond national capitals, encompassing other major cities in both geographies. Government and business enterprises should come ahead for facilitating platforms and necessary funds for making such connect possible. Similarly, along with tourism that is linked with Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam attempts should be made to design packages for tourists travelling to ASEAN nations, as well as for those tourists travelling to India, to build cultural connect as well as identify the manner in which people will be able to expose themselves to socio-cultural bases and civilizational connects that India and ASEAN has.
ASEAN is a regional organisation that was created, not only for intra regional growth and cooperation, but also to secure all the ASEAN states from the challenges that came beyond their regional borders. The growing economic inequalities amongst member nations, rising intolerance within the civil society as well as mounting frustration against governing forces (especially in Thailand, Myanmar and Philippines), constantly challenges the various factors, which have been integral in the successful functioning of ASEAN. While commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, stress has been laid on regaining the centrality of ASEAN and moving towards the establishment of a community.
The deliberations that were undertaken in these meetings, part of the ASEAN 50th anniversary celebration, attempted to identify areas of cooperation that needed to be strengthened in the future, while appreciating, the various projects and concerted efforts, which has not only strengthened economic linkages within the region, but ASEAN as a whole. However, with changing leaderships, unpredictable display of nationalism from governments within ASEAN, and the uncertainty whether the code of conduct would be successful in diffusing the tension in the South China Sea; as it would be legally non-binding, strains and challenges within ASEAN would remain in the future.
India and ASEAN nations have paved the path of joint partnership, cooperation and development based on the principles of equality, understanding each other’s capacities, strengthening knowledge about each other. Having thirty dialogue mechanisms in between ASEAN and India, efforts are being sincerely made for understanding each others’ markets, complementarities, business traditions and market cultures. ASEAN also remain an integral partner of India in defence cooperation, countering traditional and non-traditional security challenges, socio-cultural linkages, building a common narrative through its civilizational linkages. ASEAN remains to be a major pillar in India’s foreign policy, its’ importance growing day-by-day. Hosting the head of states of all the ASEAN member nations on India’s 69th Republic Day as chief guests in the occasion, the Indian leadership portrays the closeness it has developed with the ASEAN nations as well as the importance it provides to it, while it celebrates 25 years of dialogue, 15 years of summit level meetings, and five years of strategic partnership.
* The Authors, Research Fellows, ICWA, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are that of the Researcher and not of the Council.
1 Dindo Manhit, “Commentary: Where ASEAN can do more in the new world order”, The Philippines Star, November 10, 2017, http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2017/11/10/1757207/commentary-where-asean-can-do-more-new-world-order, accessed on December 15, 2017.
2 Hoang Thi ha, “Five Decades of ASEAN’s Evolution”, ASEAN Focus, Issue 5/2017, October 2017, p- 2.
3 Gerald Tan, ASEAN Economic Development and Cooperation, (Singapore: Eastern University Press, 2003), p: 234
4 Hoang Thi ha, “Five Decades of ASEAN’s Evolution”, ASEAN Focus, Issue 5/2017, October 2017, p- 2-3.
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25 Nan Tian, Aude Fleurant, Pieter D. Wezeman, and Siemon T. Wezeman, “Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2016”, SIPRI, April 2017, https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/Trends-world-military-expenditure-2016.pdf, accessed on December 15, 2017.
26 “ASEAN, China adopt framework of code of conduct for South China Sea, The Straits Times, August 6, 2017, http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/chinas-foreign-minister-says-maritime-code-negotiations-with-asean-to-start-this-year, accessed on August 7, 2017.
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28Joint Communiqué of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting, Manila, Philippines, August 5, 2017, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Joint-Communique-of-the-50th-AMM_FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 14, 2017.
29 The ARF is the primary entity which would ensure one of the broad and long term objectives given in the Hanoi Plan of Action, which is peace, justice, and moderation in the Asia-Pacific and in the world, is realised towards the overall ASEAN Vision 2020.
30 “Chairman’s Statement of the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila, Philippines 7 August 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Chairmans-Statement-of-the-24th-ARF-FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 21, 2017.
31 Joint Communiqué of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting, Manila, Philippines, August 5, 2017, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Joint-Communique-of-the-50th-AMM_FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 14, 2017.
32 “Chairman’s Statement on the Fourth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting- Plus (4th ADMM- Plus) manila, 24 October 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/10/Chairmans-Statement-on-the-4th-ADMM-Plus.pdf, accessed on October 27, 2017.
33 “Singapore takes over chairmanship of ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting”, The Straits Times, October 24, 2017, http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/singapore-takes-over-chairmanship-of-asean-defence-ministers-meeting, accessed on October 25, 2017.
34“Indonesia proposes ‘mini-Interpol’ plan to boost ASEAN counter-terrorism efforts”, The Straits Times, October 24, 2017, http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-proposes-mini-interpol-plan-to-boost-asean-counter-terrorism-efforts, accessed on October 27, 2017.
35“Chairman’s Statement of the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila, Philippines 7 August 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Chairmans-Statement-of-the-24th-ARF-FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 21, 2017.
36 The ARF participants provided two proposals, namely, “double freeze and simultaneous progress” and “phase-by-phase” plan, as a possible way of addressing the situation in the Korean Peninsula.“ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Statement on the Developments in the Korean Peninsula”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, August 5, 2017, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/news3/6886/79957-ASEAN-Foreign-Ministers%E2%80%99-Meeting-Statement-on-the.html, accessed on August 10, 2017.
37 “18th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and 24th ASEAN Regional Forum 7 August Manila, The Philippines”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, August 9, 2017, http://www.kln.gov.my/web/guest/press-release/-/asset_publisher/FCk0/content/press-release-:-18th-asean-plus-three-foreign-ministers%E2%80%99-meeting-7th-east-asia-summit-foreign-ministers%E2%80%99-meeting-and-24th-asean-regional-forum-7-august-2017-manila-the-philippines?redirect=%2Fweb%2Fguest%2Fpress-release, accessed on August 10, 2017.
38“Hanoi Plan of Action”, ASEAN, June 19, 2012, http://asean.org/?static_post=hanoi-plan-of-action, accessed on August 21, 2017.
39 “Chairman’s Statement of the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila, Philippines 7 August 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Chairmans-Statement-of-the-24th-ARF-FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 21, 2017.
40 Joint Communiqué of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting, Manila, Philippines, August 5, 2017, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Joint-Communique-of-the-50th-AMM_FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 14, 2017.
41 “Chairman’s Statement on the Fourth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting- Plus (4th ADMM- Plus) manila, 24 October 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/10/Chairmans-Statement-on-the-4th-ADMM-Plus.pdf, accessed on October 27, 2017.
42 “Chairman’s Statement of the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila, Philippines 7 August 2017”, ASEAN, http://asean.org/storage/2017/08/Chairmans-Statement-of-the-24th-ARF-FINAL.pdf, accessed on August 21, 2017.
43 Tereso S. Tullao, Jr, Miguel Roberto Borromeo and Christopher James Cabuay, “Framing the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Post 2015: Quality and Equity Issues in Investing in Basic Education in ASEAN”, ERIA Discussion Paper Series, September 2015, pp. 1-3
44 ASEAN Community, One Vision. One Identity. One Community, Fact Sheet, May 2017, http://asean.org/storage/2012/05/7a.-May-2017-Factsheet-on-ASEAN-Community.pdf accessed on January 16, 2018