ASEAN-led security multilateralism in the contemporary Asia–Pacific has been described as a frustrating enterprise. While many ASEAN-led regional arrangements have been perceived as mostly ineffective, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in particular has been singled out as the poster child for what is wrong with Asia–Pacific multilateralism. In contrast, the progress in security cooperation achieved by the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM+) has been surprising. Comparing the ARF and the ADMM+, this article addresses whether the ADMM+, to the extent it has learned from the mistakes of the ARF, is an indication that Asia–Pacific countries are finally developing a security multilateralism that works. In this respect, the ADMM+ has hitherto surpassed expectations. But it faces significant challenges that, if unmanaged, could hinder its progress.
Last updated on 07/01/2020