02 March 2016
ASEAN centrality has been challenged by the pulls of US-China tensions of late. Developments behind the scenes, and the recent United States-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit at Sunnylands, however, demonstrate the continuing validity of the centrality dynamic.
The recent United States-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit at Sunnylands, California, was hailed for consolidating the US rebalance to Asia. The Joint Statement of the Summit reiterated major principles to guide the trajectory of the US-ASEAN relationship and upheld the validity of ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture of the Asia-Pacific. Amid concerns that ASEAN centrality is being undermined by major power politics, the Sunnylands Summit is an affirmation of its continuing strength rather than a sign of its weakness.
ASEAN centrality, the principle by which ASEAN countries maintain their leadership role in the regional architecture, envisions that the 10-member grouping can and should engage with extra regional powers, while always upholding ASEAN interests, and never allowing external powers to push their own agendas in the region.
… Henrick Z. Tsjeng is Associate Research Fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/03/2016