16 May 2017
In recent months, rising tensions due to North Korean threat have aroused anxiety throughout the Asia-Pacific, including Southeast Asia. In a letter to the ASEAN Secretary General dated 23 March 2017, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho indicated his “expectations that ASEAN which attaches great importance to the regional peace and stability will make an issue of the US-South Korean joint military exercises at ASEAN conferences”. He added that ASEAN should take a “fair position and play an active role in safeguarding the peace and safety of Korean Peninsula”.
In April 2017, during the 30th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, ASEAN expressed “grave concern” and urged North Korea to comply with UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear programme. ASEAN’s firm yet measured response to North Korea not only reflects international consensus against North Korea’s actions. It is also a neutral posture that avoids siding with any party involved in the crisis, including China and the United States. Additionally, ASEAN’s position neither overestimates the organisation’s ability to contribute to the resolution of the crisis nor misconstrues its existing purpose as a platform for shaping regional security.
… David Han is a Research Analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/05/2017