Regional Security in Southeast Asia: Beyond the ASEAN Way

By Mely Caballero-Anthony | Go to book overview

7
ASEAN AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Enhancing Regional Mechanisms
for Managing Security

The shaping of a future of peace, friendship and co-operation is far too
important to be left to governments and government officials. The need
is for ever-expanding involvement and participation of the people…. As
someone who has shared in the privilege of giving life to ASEAN, I may
be permitted to observe that while ASEAN has indeed made impressive
progress in many fields of co-operative endeavour, much more needs to
be done, especially in the non-governmental sphere.

— Adam Malik, circa 1980
(Former Foreign Minister of Indonesia)1


INTRODUCTION

As noted in the previous chapter, the economic crisis of 1997 became a watershed for ASEAN, particularly in the way it had to respond to regional problems brought on by the crisis. There is however a paradox to the crisis. While the attendant challenges stemming from the crisis should have resulted in a less cohesive association, as members were expected to turn inward to attend to domestic problems, the crisis however became a rallying point for ASEAN to become more responsive and bolder in instituting mechanisms to handle regional problems. We noted that it was in December 1997, just a few months after the onset of the financial crisis, when ASEAN leaders unveiled the ASEAN Vision 2020 at the ASEAN Second Informal Summit in Kuala Lumpur. The ASEAN Vision 2020 articulated the leaders' vision of an "ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies".2

A closer look at the preamble of the ASEAN Vision 2020 would reveal that the Vision had essentially set out the three-part agenda of

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