Regional Security in Southeast Asia: Beyond the ASEAN Way

By Mely Caballero-Anthony | Go to book overview

5
ASEAN'S TRACK TWO DIPLOMACY
Reconstructing Regional Mechanisms
of Conflict Management

INTRODUCTION

The previous chapter traced the development of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which has been ASEAN's more recent initiative in adding more substance to its evolving mechanisms of conflict management. Two points from the foregoing discussion are relevant to this chapter's theme on ASEAN's track two diplomacy and to the overall objective of this study in tracing the elements beyond the ASEAN way.

Firstly while the ARF has often been regarded as an extension of the ASEAN way of diplomacy as well as a mechanism to manage conflict and regional security one could argue that its establishment had in fact began to set in motion the thrust towards a more inclusive and/or participatory type of mechanism for conflict management. For a start, the ARF was established to be an inclusive forum, bringing together both like-minded and non-like-minded states in the broader Asia-Pacific region. The main objective was to encourage these states to have a stake in managing regional security.

Secondly, and perhaps of more significance to the purpose of this study, is the fact that in developing the modalities of the ARF, particularly in the various processes that have emerged to move its agenda forward, the ARF and especially ASEAN have opened the doors for non-state actors to be part of the process(es) involved in adjusting their modalities beyond the ASEAN way. It is often observed that ASEAN is a highly state-centric organization and, in most of its initiatives in the diverse areas of regional co-operation, has not allowed non-state actors to be part of the processes involved in crafting these initiatives. This chapter will show that there have been perceptible changes in this regard by highlighting the roles played by non-governmental or non-official

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