L’ASEAN si ripropone una “diplomazia preventiva”

WSJ 1/8/05
Asean Regional Forum (10 paesi Asean + 15 altri paesi Asia-Pacifico),
tenuto in concomitanza di vertice ASEAN è stato oscurato dalla decisione di C. Rice di non pareciparvi: un segnale d’avvertimento contro il passaggio della presidenza di turno ASEAN a Myanmar (che ha rinunciato, data anche l’opposizione della Tailandia).

ARF ha deciso linea della “diplomazia preventiva”: il suo presidente avrà il potere di convocare commissioni speciali per sventare eventuali conflitti regionali, non appena si presentino.

East Asian Summit era stato proposto per la prima volta anni fa dal premier Malese Mahathir [asiatista] nella prospettiva di creare un blocco commerciale tipo UE.

<1337407">Asean Targets ‘Preventive Diplomacy’

Asia Security Forum Agrees

To Widen Its Role in Easing

Points of Tension in Region



August 1, 2005

With several top diplomats from the U.S., Japan and India absent, Asia’s biggest security forum concluded last week with an agreement to make it less of a talking shop and to apply "preventive diplomacy" to percolating conflicts in the region.  
The lead-up to the Asean Regional Forum, held in conjunction with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos, was overshadowed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s decision not to attend. Her absence effectively downgraded the importance of the forum and was also widely interpreted as a signal that U.S. relations with Asean might suffer if Myanmar’s military regime were allowed to assume the chairmanship of the regional trade and diplomatic group next year.  
The U.S. earlier had threatened to boycott Asean meetings held in Myanmar to protest that country’s poor human-rights record and lack of democratic reforms. Myanmar averted a stand-off between Washington and Asean by forgoing its turn as the group’s rotating chair. Thailand’s foreign minister, Kantathi Suphamongkhon, said Myanmar wouldn’t be allowed to lead Asean until it improved its record on human rights and restored democracy.  
With that problem dealt with, Asean ministers then agreed on a new framework for the Asean Regional Forum, which comprises the 10 Asean nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — plus 15 other Asian-Pacific countries. The Asean Regional Forum said it would give its chairman the power to convene special committees to defuse regional conflicts as they emerge, instead of waiting until the forum’s annual meeting to discuss issues such as terrorism, piracy in the Strait of Malacca or stability on the Korean peninsula.  
"This is the year for a transition from just meeting to build confidence to moving into the arena of preventive diplomacy," Thailand’s Mr. Kantathi said Friday.  
Officials said an expanded role for the Asean Regional Forum would enable it to play a more active role in easing the many points of tension in the region, including competing claims over sea lanes, border disputes between India and Pakistan and other simmering conflicts.  
"It provides an opportunity to frankly address issues that otherwise might not be addressed," said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, the Associated Press reported Friday.  
The U.S ., meanwhile, closely is monitoring preparations for an inaugural East Asian Summit in Malaysia in December that is to include 16 countries in the region, though not the U.S.  
The East Asian Summit originally was proposed by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as a means to press Asia’s interests on a global stage. Other regional leaders have since embraced the idea of the East Asian Summit as a building block to create a regional trade group along the lines of the European Union. The inaugural meeting will include the 10 Asean nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.  

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who attended the Asean Regional Forum meeting in Laos in lieu of Ms. Rice, stressed that the U.S. still plays an influential role in Asia. "Obviously, it’s a very important region in our overall strategy," Mr. Zoellick said. "We’ve got a strong economic presence. Our military presence is very clear."

As well as regularly attending the Asean Regional Forum, the U.S. is also a significant member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC. Now that the U.S. is sidelined at the coming East Asian Summit meeting, Mr. Zoellick said, "We are obviously interested in seeing what the summit is to do, to see its relation to other forums."  
During the week’s talks in Vientiane, the U.S., Australia, China, India and South Korea announced plans to control the emission of greenhouse pollutants by developing cleaner-energy programs, a nonbinding agreement that some environmentalists said would undermine the effectiveness of the Kyoto antipollution treaty, which the U.S. hasn’t signed.  

Australia, meanwhile, agreed to sign a nonaggression pact with Asean , strengthening its economic ties to the region.

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