From 25 November till 8 December 2015, the Clingendael Academy hosted 22 midcareer diplomats from the ten ASEAN member states and Secretariat. In the two week course, the delegation deepened their knowledge on regional cooperation and discussed the future of integration in South East Asia.
The ASEAN Way
Founded in 1967, ASEAN now groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. This month is a landmark in ASEAN integration. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community will be established, which was first proposed more than ten years ago. The ASEAN Community consists of three pillars: an ASEAN Political and Security Community; an ASEAN Economic Community; and an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
Over the years, ASEAN is closely connected to the ASEAN Way, which has become a well known concept with its emphasis on mutual respect and non-interference. Quite appropriately, it also is the theme of the ASEAN anthem. Under the current chair, Malaysia, a post-2015 vision for ASEAN has been developed for the next ten years. Connectivity and a people-centered ASEAN are among some of the priorities.
Key regional issues
Key regional issues which will also be on the table next year, under the Laos chairmanship, include the South China Sea dispute, the problem of migration and climate change. During the course, these as well as other issues were discussed. In their country presentations, the participants shared the current priorities for ASEAN of their respective countries and the challenges they identified.
They also met with experts, academics and policy makers and paid a visit to the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The issue of connectivity materialized in a visit to the Rotterdam Port Authority, where the ASEAN diplomats received firsthand knowledge on the largest port of Europe and made a tour of Maasvlakte II.