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Title: A theoretical research on ASEAN: no prospect nor turning back
Authors: Hon, Ka Yan
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Issue Date: 1999
Supervisor: Dr. Law Kam Yee
Subjects: Association of South-East Asian Nations
Inter-governmental organizations
Abstract: Being one of the most popular IGOs (inter-governmental organizations) in South-East Asian region for over thirty years, ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) is expected to play an active role in the ever-complicated regional affairs diplomatically in foreseeable future. The political structure of ASEAN is undoubtedly the evolution of the previous mechanisms such as SEATO (South-East Asia Treaty Organization), ASA (Association of Southeast Asia), and MAPHILINDO (Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia), running beneath the post-colonial atmosphere but eventually left idle. ASEAN contains the strategic and political elements of a regional organization, which is proven contributive in resolving regional conflict not until Cambodia Question in 1977. The founding concept is to establish a peaceful and prosperous community in South-East Asia. The compromise among member states is not confirmed until ASEAN Task Force Report in 1983 (Rolls, 1991, pp.329), where the community should be more integrated with economic-driven force than retaining its purely diplomatic nature. The brilliant diplomatic history of ASEAN gains international reputation and achieves regional stability during Cold War. For the ASEAN leaders, there is no reason and indeed ‘costly’ to forgo such a diplomatic mechanism for ‘South-East Asian Community’ instead. Hence, a sidetrack system basing on the blueprint of European Economic Community is planned and selectively transplanted to refurbishing ASEAN infrastructure, where the original political institutions are left untouched. This double-track but divergent mechanism will lead ASEAN to somewhere without prospect of development. This paper aims at disproving the feasibility of this double-track mechanism: theoretically, it is impractical to selectively apply the European model into the Asian community, and because of any possible establishment of another security system (e.g. Northeast Asia Security Forum) suggesting by other regional powers, the current diplomatic mechanism (e.g., Dialogue Partner System; ARF) will soon become obsolete. This paper does not intend to promote any school of thought as paramount above others in reforming ASEAN institutionally. The emphasis is to question the mechanism of ASEAN and to raise the urgency of reform rather than suggesting any resolution to it. That is the reason why some theories, though may mutually antagonizing with each other in interpretations, will also be included in the analytical framework once they are considered appropriate for the issue.
Appears in Collections:Applied Social Sciences - Undergraduate Final Year Projects - Sociology

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