ASEAN to keep out big power competition
Antara News – 16/11/2011
Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will not allow itself to become an arena for big power competition, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said here on Wednesday.
He made the statement to newsmen when explaining the results of a series of ministerial meetings ahead of the ASEAN Summit.
“ASEAN will not allow itself to be used as an arena for big power competition,” he said replying a reporter`s question in connection with conditions in the South China Sea and rivalry between the US and China.
He said having adopted this stand, ASEAN was not afraid of risking its good relations with some of the big countries who are members of the East Asia Summit such as the US, China, Russia and Japan.
Marty said ASEAN ministers had agreed that ASEAN had become a stable, peaceful and secure region and it had also been able to reduce or even eliminate conflicts among its members.
Although upheavals still occurred at internal levels in certain countries, Marty said a positive tendency remained to make the situation become better.
He said ASEAN had also become an important element in the world marked by Brazil`s agreement to sign a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN. “This proves that the TAC is increasingly welcomed by the international community,” he said.
Regarding Myanmar, Marty said ASEAN foreign ministers would give three recommendations to the ASEAN leaders with regard to Myanmar`s proposal to let it assume the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014.
The three recommendations state that ASEAN foreign ministers welcome positive developments in Myanmar in 2011, underline the importance for Myanmar to maintain and advance the momentum and that the positive developments and their followups would help create conducive conditions for the process ASEAN had to pass through to decide on Myanmar`s proposal.
“Actually based on a number of meetings ASEAN`s stand and impression has been clear,” Marty said.
“The recommendations will be discussed by the ASEAN leaders at the summit (tomorrow),” he said.
Regarding Timor Leste, Marty said ASEAN foreign ministers welcomed its application for ASEAN membership.
Myamar`s proposal was discussed by the ASEAN Board of Coordination which finally agreed to welcome it after a number of questions were raised during the discussions.
The fourth day of the 19th ASEAN Summit and related summits activities were filled by economic ministers` meetings, the ASEAN State Auditors meeting and a seminar on women`s entrepreneurship.
Other activities were meetings of the ASEAN Political and Security Community Board and the ASEAN Economic Community Board. The Brazilian foreign minister on Wednesday signed ASEAN`s TAC.
Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan in the ASEAN Investment Forum meanwhile urged harmonization of steps with regard to investment for the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
“The forum is important for conveying messages and spirit that we must be together and act collectively,” he said when opening the forum.
By conducting harmonization various countries could invest well in Southeast Asia which will affect the scale of investment in ASEAN member countries themselves.
Minister Gita meanwhile also expressed Indonesia`s unwillingness to join the Trans Pacific Partnership initiated by nine countries including Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as it was not yet ready for it in terms of its products and services.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa meanwhile said Indonesia was able to include the equitable economic development issue for discussion in the summit.
“We have included the issue of how the gap in economic development among members could be overcome,” he said.
Two elements linked to equitable economic development are development of small and medium businesses and overcoming the gap in development among members.
On the sidelines of the meetings of ASEAN elites ASEAN community elements had held a blogger conference. Indonesian minister of communication and telecommunication Tifatul Sembiring said the two day conference was attended by 200 representatives from 10 ASEAN member countries and was hoped to be able to deepen the relations between ASEAN and its people to realize the goal of the regional organization as a people-based and-oriented organization.
Before the summit on Thursday President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday took an opportunity to inspect the media center.
The ASEAN Summit is to be attended by 10 heads of state/government of ASEAN member countries and to be followed by the East Asia Summit attended by ASEAN leaders and their partners from China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India the US and Russia.