9th Lecture - Building Regional Architecture with Prof. Mie Oba
Date: Wednesday, 16 February 2022
Time: 08.00 - 10.00 GMT+7
Platform: Zoom Meetings & Youtube Livestream
Speaker: Prof. Mie Oba, Professor, International Relations at Kanagawa University
Moderator: Dr Sheila Devi Michael, Senior Lecturer, Department of International and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya
ASEAN was established in August 1967 with five member countries. Now, it has ten member countries covering the whole Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has always been ethnically, culturally, and historically diverse in many ways. Despite these various successes, ASEAN has come under various internal and external pressure in the 2010s and now. The shifting power between the U.S. and China in the wake of China’s rapid rise and intensifying confrontation between them have shaken the effectiveness of the ASEAN traditional approach to the major powers outside the region. The expansion of ASEAN led to its further diversification in many ways, including its political structure and economic levels, in particular bridging the ASEAN divide between the advanced members and latecomers had become the new and vital issue for ASEAN.
There are various reasons why ASEAN has been able to achieve a good result in terms of cooperation. First, ASEAN has successfully implemented the ASEAN way, a set of operational norms that have been developed from the ASEAN experience over the years. Second, ASEAN is not a military alliance, rather it is an organization that aims to stabilize relations among member states and the regional order as a whole through the non-use of force and the peaceful settlement for disputes. Third reason is ASEAN’s international environment. After the end of the Cold War, the liberal international order became the world keynote which created the environment that allowed ASEAN to develop.
ASEAN is exposed to challenges from the outside and the inside. However, even as the strategic environment becomes increasingly severe, I believe that the approach that ASEAN has taken thus far is consistent with the long-term trend. Since the invention of the nuclear weapon, the cost of the use of force has risen and all countries must refrain from using military force. Following the principle of the non-use of force and the peaceful settlement of dispute is a correct direction in the long term.