Tag Archive for: ASEAN

JC History Tuition Singapore - What is the relationship between Vietnam and the ASEAN countries

What is the relationship between Vietnam and the ASEAN countries?

The Cold War lens: Consequences of the Second Indochina War
During the Vietnam War, the Paris Peace Accords were signed on 27 January 1973, which provided an official basis for the full withdrawal of the American troops from South Vietnam. As part of the 1969 Nixon Doctrine, the reduced commitment of the USA in the Asia-Pacific meant that there was a corresponding decline in its military presence in Thailand and the Philippines.

However, Hanoi held deep suspicions of the US motives of manipulating ASEAN as a Cold War instrument in the region, which conflicted with ASEAN’s neutral position as declared under its 1971 Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN). Even after the Paris Agreement, some ASEAN member nations maintained relations with the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (PRG), which Hanoi interpreted as a confirmation of its suspicions.

Besides, tensions were high as Thailand turned to China for help with its looming border security threat. In February 1979, Vietnam and China clashed in a short military confrontation, which could be seen as an extension of the Sino-Soviet split.

In Hanoi’s view, ASEAN is both an offshoot and a disguise of the US-led SEATO that serve the US interests and this explained the “insincerity of ASEAN proposal of neutrality”. Thus, in Hanoi’s future relations with ASEAN the opposition aspect would be greater than the cooperation aspect. Moreover, cooperation should serve to drive a wedge among ASEAN member states, that is “to exploit contradictions among those in the opposite side”, which had become one of the guiding principles of the Vietnamese foreign policy with respect to ASEAN.

An excerpt taken from “Flying Blind: Vietnam’s Decision to Join ASEAN” by Nguyen Vu Tung.

After the fall of Saigon, Deputy Foreign Minister Phan Hien raised a ‘four-point position’ in July 1976, which antagonised ASEAN nations. For instance, one of the four points stated “Regional states should develop cooperation among themselves in accordance with the specific conditions of each state and in the interest of genuine independence, peace, and neutrality in Southeast Asia, thus contributing to the cause of world peace.”

At this stage, Vietnam refused to recognise ZOPFAN and join ASEAN.

Mounting Tensions: The Third Indochina War
In December 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Kampuchea, causing the outbreak of the Third Indochina War that alarmed ASEAN. On 7 January 1979, a pro-Vietnamese government known as the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) was formed. As a result, ASEAN-Vietnam relations soured.

In response to this gross violation of national sovereignty, ASEAN made repeated joint statements to call for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Kampuchea and the recognition of self-determination. In particular, ASEAN took the lead in calling for the formation of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) that comprised of three anti-Phnom Penh factions in June 1982.

The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) retaliated by declaring ASEAN countries as “hostile to Vietnam” from 1979 onwards.

As far as ASEAN is concerned, Vietnam is pursuing tactics that deliberately evade and obscure the central fact of the issue: Vietnamese armed occupation of Kampuchea. ASEAN rejects that implicit bilateralization of the problem in Vietnam’s effort to define it as a Thai-Kampuchean border dispute. Moreover, ASEAN has been unwilling to see the Vietnamese military presence in Kampuchea be submerged in a diffuse general agenda on problems of peace and stability in Southeast Asia that might include such topics as US basis in the Philippines. […] Furthermore, Vietnamese initiated bilateral official contacts with ASEAN states appear to be manipulated in a manner calculated to crack ASEAN’s external solidarity by driving a political wedge between the members.

An excerpt taken from “Southeast Asia Divided: The Asean-Indochina Crisis” by Donald E. Weatherbee.

A new age: Post-Cold War transition
On 23 October 1991, the Paris Peace Agreements were signed, marking an official end of the Third Indochina War. The late 1980s marked a turning point for ASEAN-Vietnam relations. Vietnam launched its Doi Moi reform policy to undergo political and economic transformation in both domestic and international fronts. In terms of foreign policy, Vietnam sought to strengthen diplomatic relations with ASEAN member nations in spite of its past transgressions.

The period 1992-1995, spanning an interview from the collapse of the Soviet Union and normalization of relations with China through full membership in ASEAN and diplomatic recognition by the United States, was also a time of significant change in elite views of the nature of the international system, and its implications for Vietnam.

[…] The abrupt end of the Cold War and the collapse of Vietnam’s main supporter certainly qualifies as a major “external shock”, and it had been preceded by the economic shock of the 1980s which, by undermining the old ways of conceiving socialism, had cleared the way for new thinking in the external sphere.

An excerpt taken from “Changing Worlds: Vietnam’s Transition from Cold War to Globalization” by David W. P. Elliott.

In 1992, Vietnam joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). On 28 July 1995, Vietnam joined ASEAN as a full member. Subsequently, Vietnam participated in the ASEAN Free Trade (AFTA), facilitating regional economic integration that made ASEAN flourish economically.


Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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JC History Tuition Online - How did ASEAN promote economic growth in the 1970s 3

How did ASEAN promote economic growth in the 1970s?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN Growth and Development of ASEAN: Promoting regional economic cooperation

How it all began: ASEAN Declaration
On 8 August 1967, five Southeast Asian nations signed the ASEAN Declaration in Bangkok to officiate the creation of a regional association. Within the Declaration, three out of seven objectives related to economic development.

For instance, the fifth objective states that member nations were to “collaborate more effectively for the greater utilization of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade”.

In the late 1960s, most member states of ASEAN were largely reliant on primary products. Malaysia was a key exporter of tin, natural rubber and palm oil. Thailand specialised in the production of tapioca and rice. Yet, regional economic cooperation was not at the top of the priority list, since the main export markets for the above products were outside ASEAN. This could be the result of differing stages of economic development among the ASEAN-5.

The ASEAN economies exhibit a mixture of the characteristics of the economies of the ‘North’ and the ‘South’. There is, on the one hand, the highly industrialised, affluent and small economy of Singapore, while on the other large, less affluent and rather dualistic economies of Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Then there is Malaysia which is medium-size, natural resource rich and relatively affluent; […]

Singapore, with its policy of virtually free trade, is already well-integrated with the rest of the world, while Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand – all seeking to industrialise themselves – have high tariff and other trade barriers. Malaysia’s industrialisation strategy is also based on restricted trade, but the degree of such restrictions is lower. Given this mixture of structural characteristics, policies of trade liberalisation cannot be successful without greater co-ordination of industrial strategies of the member countries.

An excerpt taken from “ASEAN Into the 1990s” by Alison Broinowski.

Oil Shocks and The Bali Summit
The first oil crisis of 1973 had adversely affected oil-importing nations, such as Thailand and the Philippines. In addition, price fluctuations in the world markets made the attainment of economic growth unsustainable. ASEAN members began to contemplate on the need for a regional market to sustain industrialisation.

As such, Indonesian ministers (such as Widjojo Nitisastro) under Suharto’s leadership invited ASEAN leaders to attend a gathering in Jakarta in November 1975. This ‘Meeting of ASEAN Economic and Planning Ministers’ set the stage for the first ASEAN Summit in Bali in February 1976.

From the economic standpoint, the Bali Summit concluded with the signing of the ASEAN Concord. In consideration of the challenges posed by external shocks, the Concord sought to address the risk of supply shortages for food and energy.

One key initiative was the ASEAN Industrial Projects (AIPs) that required each member state to lead a joint venture with other members. The AIPs sought to address the lack of complementariness between ASEAN economies, thus facilitating economic integration. It was estimated that each project required an investment of up to US$300 million.

However, not all member states expressed enthusiasm towards the projects.

According to Widjojo Nitisastro, Indonesia had resisted all notions of trade liberalization and regional economic integration. Indonesia, he said, was more concerned with food, as well as energy, security and with the establishment of large-scale industrial projects. Widjojo believed that, if a country felt that trade liberalization was good for it, it would open up trade unilaterally anyway.

An excerpt taken from “Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community: Insights from the Former ASEAN Secretary-general” by Rodolfo Severino.

Musings of an ASEAN Free Trade Area
Yet, the attempts to promote regional economic cooperation in the 1960s and 1970s were arguably disappointing, given that intra-ASEAN trade levels remained low. In the case of the AIPs, only two out of five projects were implemented, namely the urea projects under Malaysia and Indonesia. The rest were eventually withdrawn.

During the 13th ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting in May 1982, the Philippine President Marcos raised the notion of a free trade regime involving ASEAN members, which was later established a decade later.

Six years have now passed since we inaugurated in Bali, Indonesia a broad and ambitious program for regional cooperation in our part of Asia, which dramatically transformed the character of our association of Southeast Asian nations and has since riveted the attention of our peoples and governments on the tasks of making regional community possible and real in our part of the world.

[…] If free trade is a goal which commends itself to the other ASEAN member-governments, then we should lose no time in so resolving that it is. Establishing a free trade regime is an enormous undertaking, requiring a great deal of preparation and lead time. If we resolve today to establish it, perhaps we should need all of the next ten years to stage it.

An excerpt taken from the “Address of President Marcos at the 13th Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers“, 20 May 1982.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that ASEAN was effective in promoting regional economic cooperation in the 1970s and 1980s.


Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When did Myanmar join ASEAN

When did Myanmar join ASEAN?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Historical context
During the 29th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in July 1996, Myanmar was granted an observer status. In August 1996, Myanmar applied for full membership. On 23 July 1997, Myanmar was formally accepted as a member of the ASEAN regional organisation.

ASEAN being put to the test: Western objections
However, the admission of Myanmar into ASEAN was not welcomed by some external powers, especially those in the western parts of the world, such as the European Union (EU) members and the United States.

In preparatory negotiations for the annual ASEAN-EU Joint Co-operation Council meeting in Bangkok, scheduled for November 1997, the EU insisted that Myanmar’s attendance be downgraded to “passive presence”, a condition that was unacceptable to ASEAN. The impasse led to the postponement of the meeting and a chilling relationship between the two groupings. Throughout 1998 and 1999, Europe maintained such policies towards Myanmar because of a “lack of progress to break the [domestic] political stalemate, the harassment of pro-democracy activists and the poor human rights record in Myanmar”.

An excerpt taken from “ASEAN Enlargement Impacts and Implications” by Carolyn L. Gates and Mya Than.

As a result of Myanmar’s domestic crisis, Myanmar was prohibited from attending an ASEAN-EU Foreign Ministers Meeting (AEMM) in Berlin on 30 March 1999. Myanmar’s non-attendance resulted in the cancellation of the AEMM, reflecting a strain in EU-ASEAN relations in the late 1990s.

The genesis of Myanmar’s entry to ASEAN
When the regional association was established in August 1967, Myanmar did not identify itself with ASEAN, given its political stance as one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

There are two key factors that could possibly explain Myanmar’s interest to join the association in the post-Cold War era: Its reversal of an isolationist policy and interest in regional economic cooperation.

From the domestic standpoint, the military government had been pre-occupied with ethnic insurgencies for decades, expending substantial resources to contain unrest. By the 1990s, the government managed to sign peace treaties to (temporarily) cease intra-state violence. Hence, it could now turn its attention to regional developments, including engagement with ASEAN.

As for the international dimension, the government was cognisant of the Western criticisms towards its domestic controversies, such as the use of force against activists and opposition groups. International isolationism was akin to a tightening noose around its neck. As such, the government desired cooperation with ASEAN to end this political ostracism.

Myanmar’s critics have argued that the reasons behind Myanmar’s decision were both political and economic. Politically, it was boycotted by the Western bloc led by the United States and the EU, the country needed international recognition and this led to the decision to join ASEAN. The economic reason was that the country needed development assistance and economic cooperation with groups of countries which were sympathetic to Myanmar and ASEAN was ready to accept it as a member, since the country was facing economic sanctions imposed by the West.

An excerpt taken from “Myanmar in ASEAN: Regional Co-operation Experience“. by Mya Than.

A family united?
Although there were reservations expressed by Thailand and the Philippines over Myanmar’s poor human rights record, Malaysia rallied behind Myanmar.

During a keynote address by then-Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, on 24 July 1997, he asserted that the inclusion of both Myanmar and Laos should be hailed as a great achievement in bringing the association closer to the goal of realising the ‘ASEAN-10’ vision.

ASEAN’s accomplishments are even more remarkable considering that not so long ago there were wars and conflicts in the region and within many of the ASEAN countries. It was predicted that if North Vietnam achieved victory, then, like dominoes one by one the other countries in the region would fall to Communism and chaos. We were told then, as we are told now, that we needed foreign protection against predatory neighbours such as a victorious Vietnam and the other powerful Eastern countries.

An excerpt taken from “Keynote Address By The Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed The Prime Minister of Malaysia“, 24 July 1997.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN’s membership expansion in the 1990s has strengthened the organisation?


Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did ASEAN respond to the South China Sea dispute - ASEAN Notes

How did ASEAN respond to the South China Sea dispute?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Historical context
In the 1990s, ASEAN faced a new challenge, particularly the need to maintain amicable relations with a rising Great Power in a multipolar world. While China stood on the same side as ASEAN in response to the Third Indochina War in the 1980s, the latter was once again put to the test. This time, the contention lies with the strategic body of water, known as the South China Sea.

By some estimates, the South China Sea is one of the most valuable strategic locations on the planet. It has proven oil reserves of 7 billion barrels and 900 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, and is traversed by half the world’s merchant fleet tonnage and a third of all maritime traffic. The value of trade passing through it annually is estimated at over US$3 trillion. This provides a lucrative incentive to littoral states to assert even tenuous claims, and unsurprisingly, there is fierce competition among them to carve out a piece of this prized marine real estate.

An excerpt taken from “The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Asia and the Pacific” by Simon Chesterman Hisashi Owada and Ben Saul.

Tensions on the rise: ASEAN’s diplomacy
Although member states like the Philippines had competing claims as well, China agreed to participate in meetings with ASEAN, as seen by its involvement in the China-ASEAN Senior Official Meeting (SOC) in April 1995. Notably, the meeting was held in Hangzhou after the ‘Mischief Reef’ incident two months earlier.

On 8 February 1995, the Philippines identified eight Chinese ships in vicinity of the Mischief Reef, which was about 200 kilometres from the Philippine island of Palawan. In response, the Philippine President Fidel Ramos cricitised China’s action. The dispute escalated tensions as Chinese territorial markers were destroyed and Chinese fishermen were arrested in March.

The de-escalation of the dispute started in the mid-1990s and was illustrated by a process of multilateral dialogue that began shortly after the 1995 Mischief Reef incident. […] Though China was not mentioned, the ASEAN foreign ministers expressed “their serious concern over recent developments which affect peace and stability in the South China Sea.” They also called “for the early resolution of the problems caused by the recent developments in Mischief Reef.” The statement was supported by Vietnam. On the eve of the first ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Hangzhou in April 1995, Chinese and ASEAN officials met for an informal meeting during which the latter expressed their concern about China’s aggressive action.

An excerpt taken from “Security and International Politics in the South China Sea: Towards a co-operative management regime” by Sam Bateman and Ralf Emmers.

As a result of ASEAN’s call for a peaceful response to the dispute, the Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen (钱其琛) declared prior to the second ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in August 1995 that China was ready to hold multilateral talks. In addition, China would accept the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 as a “basis for negotiation”.

After the ARF, ASEAN openly called on all parties to adhere to the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea. Additionally, the regional organisation pushed for a “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea”, which China agreed to sign in 2002. In essence, the ‘Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea‘ (DOC in short) ensured that China accepted a multilateral solution to the territorial dispute.

ASEAN and the PCA: A divided response?
Yet, the DOC did not mean much in the later stages. The Code was often flouted by claimants that included some ASEAN member states as well as China. In 2013, the Philippines lodged a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), signifying the first ever legal challenge to the territorial dispute.

On 12 July 2016, the PCA announced that its decision was in favour of the Philippines. The Tribunal objected to China’s claim based on the ‘Nine-Dash Line‘, asserting that there was “no legal basis” to claim “historic rights to resources”. More importantly, the Mischief Reef formed part of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Philippines. As such, China had violated the Philippines’ sovereignty when it developed an artificial island on Mischief Reef.

Map depicting China’s “Nine-Dash Line” claim that the PCA rejected after its decision was made on Philippine’s challenge to the South China Sea dispute [Source: The Guardian].

As expected, China rejected the Tribunals’ findings. At the same time, China backed the position of Laos and Cambodia on this matter. A key point to note is that the Cambodian government announced that it would not support the Tribunal’s verdict, even before the PCA made its decision public. The Cambodian leader Hun Sen repeatedly stressed that the South China Sea dispute was not an issue between ASEAN and China.

Cambodia’s official statement very clearly reflected the preferences of the Chinese: “Cambodia views that this arbitration case is to settle the dispute brought by the Philippines against China, and this proceeding is not related with all of the ASEAN Member States … Therefore, Cambodia will not join in expressing any common position on the verdict of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that will render its decision on the dispute between the Philippines and China.” With that, China successfully divided ASEAN.

An excerpt taken from “Dividing ASEAN and Conquering the South China Sea: China’s Financial Power Projection” by Daniel C. O’ Neill.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that Great Power politics were the key obstacle to ASEAN’s role in managing the South China Sea dispute.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When was ASEAN formed and why - ASEAN Notes

Revisited: When was ASEAN formed and why?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation (SBCS)
Theme III Chapter 1: Reasons for the formation of ASEAN

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991) (Essay):
ASEAN and the Cold War (Formation of ASEAN)

Prelude to ASEAN: An invitation to promote co-operation
In December 1966, Thailand put forth a proposal, known as the Southeast Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SEAARC), to four other nations in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region. The SEAARC proposal states that countries in SEA “share a primary responsibility for ensuring the stability and maintaining the security of the area”. In particular, the proposal, which was drafted with Indonesia, specified the presence of “foreign bases” being temporary in nature, so as to protect the “national independence of Asian countries”.

Notably, this was an expected move by Thailand, given its disappointment expressed at the USA in view of the communist insurgency in Thailand that remained unaddressed even though it was part of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO). Along the same vein, Indonesia was a strong advocate of keeping the Great Powers out of the region, given its involvement in the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) ever since it hosted the Bandung Conference in April 1955.

Yet, the other countries opposed the proposal, citing the need to rely on foreign powers to protect their individual security interests.

Indonesia, despite undergoing a dramatic reorientation in foreign policy under Suharto, saw foreign powers targeting the region and maintained that its national security was best served by following a policy of self-reliance and nonalignment. It believed that the Southeast Asian states should follow its lead.

[…] The Filipinos felt that their security was best served by maintaining their strong bilateral defense ties with the United States, which kept major military bases there. Likewise, Singapore remained dependent on protection from Britain and was home to the largest British base in the region.

An excerpt taken from “Explaining ASEAN: Regionalism in Southeast Asia” by Shaun Narine.

Eventually, a compromised was reached, such that the Bangkok Declaration (that officiated the formation of ASEAN) states that “all foreign bases are temporary and remain only with the expressed concurrence of the countries concerned”. There was no mention of collective defense arrangements that served the interests of Great Powers in the Declaration. The late international relations scholar Michael Leifer commented that this compromise was merely an effort by other nations to “placate Indonesia”.

A platform for reconciliation and cooperation
On a separate note, ASEAN was also formed because of the common desire of neighbouring countries in the region to forge stronger diplomatic ties with one another. As a result of Sukarno‘s hyper-nationalist policies towards Singapore and Malaysia during the Konfrontasi, General Suharto of Indonesia sought to make amends and promote regional cooperation through the newly-formed organisation.

From 1962 to 1966, disagreements and conflicts between the region’s states had hamstrung any efforts at cooperation. These disputes largely centred upon the proposed amalgamation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah into the Federation of Malaysia. Both the Philippines and Indonesia refused to recognize the new Federation. The Philippines disputed the territorial claim of Sabah. Indonesia denounced the influence of Britain, which it viewed as ‘an imperial power imposing its will on Southeast Asia’.

As a result, Indonesia embarked on a violent four-year campaign of Konfrontasi, or confrontation, with the newly federated state of Malaysia, growing to include Singapore following its forced separation from the federation in 1965.

An excerpt taken from “ASEAN Resistance to Sovereignty Violation: Interests, Balancing and the Role of the Vanguard State” by Laura Southgate.

The negotiation: Thailand and Singapore on the creation of ASEAN
At first, Singapore was not keen to join ASEAN, citing the growing ambitions of Indonesia. Given Singapore’s position with the Malaysian Federation during the Konfrontasi, the first multi-lateral discussions about the establishment of this regional organisation did not even mention the city-state.

Thailand was instrumental in including Singapore in ASEAN. […] Thanat Khoman (1914-2016), Thailand’s foreign minister, then met with Rajaratnam in Bangkok and allayed fears, explaining that ASEAN would be a purely cultural, economic, social, and technical group devoted to regional cooperation. Khoman promised that ASEAN, as a non-aligned association, would not support or partake in military operations of any kind. Khoman convinced Rajaratnam that Singapore would not be implicated in Cold War politics after joining ASEAN.

An excerpt taken from “Southeast Asia in China: Historical Entanglements and Contemporary Engagements” by Ying-kit Chan and Chang-Yau Hoon.

On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in Bangkok, Thailand. ASEAN was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (more commonly known as the ‘Bangkok Declaration’) by five founding member nations: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree with the view that ASEAN was largely a product of the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Mischief Reef incident - South China Sea Dispute

What is the Mischief Reef incident?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

What is the ‘Mischief Reef’?
The Mischief Reef has many names: The Philippines calls it the Panganiban Reef, whereas China describes it as 美濟礁 (Meiji Reef) and the Vietnamese labels it as Đá Vành Khăn. It is a low-tide elevation located in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Although the Mischief Reef is within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which was established as within 200 nautical miles from the country as stated by 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), China has made claims to this disputed territory.

The Mischief Reef is located within the Spratly Islands, in which China was known to have built military installations in 1994 and 1995. [Map extracted from Forbes]

The dispute
On 8 February 1995, the Philippine authorities identified eight Chinese ships in the vicinity of the Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef. In April 1995, these authorities publicised the arrest of 62 Chinese fishermen in the hotly-contested area, charging them with the violation of international law. The situation deteriorated when the Philippines identified Chinese markers on the Mischief Reef and other islands.

In response, the Philippines declared its intention to built 7 lighthouses to assert Filipino claims and support international navigation. Additionally, the government internationalised the matter, hoping to garner support from its long-term ally, the USA, which was bounded by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

The 1995 China/Philippines incident involving Mischief Reef (Meijijiao/Panganiban) may have had its origins in September 1994, when the Philippine armed forces detained some 55 fishers from the People’s Republic of China who tried to set up homes on one of the islands claimed by the Philippines. They were charged with illegal entry and illegal possession of explosives. In what may have been a tit-for-tat, China detained 35 Filipino fishers for a week in late January 1995 in the area of the Spratlys which the Philippines claimed and calls Kalayaan. Then on February 8, 1995, the Philippines accused China of breaking international law by stationing armed vessels at, and building structures on, the feature it calls Panganiban (Mischief Reef).

An excerpt taken from “Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea” by Mark J. Valencia, Jon M. Van Dyke and Noel A. Ludwig.

Although China ratified the UNCLOS III in 1996, she provoked the Philippines and Vietnam by using a method of measurement to calculate her territorial waters. This method was applicable only to countries that are archipelagic, yet China was not classified as such.

ASEAN Response
On 18 March 1995, ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement in view of the Mischief Reef incident, expressing concern over the regional stability in the South China Sea. Although the statement intentionally omitted any mention of China, it was clearly directed at this active claimant. As described by the former Thai diplomat Pavin Chachavalpongpun, ASEAN member nations raised the matter on the South China Sea dispute, hoping to engage China amicably.

At the first meeting of the ASEAN and Chinese senior Foreign Ministry officials, in April 1995 in Hangzhou, a forum that I had proposed the year before, the ASEAN delegations raised pointed questions about the Chinese position on the South China Sea and particularly about the developments on Mischief Reef.

[…] Nevertheless, the discussions were significant, being the first time that China dealt with the South China Sea question in a multilateral setting, as opposed to its preference for discussing it only bilaterally.

An excerpt taken from “Entering Uncharted Waters? ASEAN and the South China Sea” by Pavin Chachavalpongpun.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the South China Sea dispute was effectively managed by ASEAN?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN and the South China Sea dispute. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did Singapore respond to the Cambodian Crisis - ASEAN Notes

How did Singapore respond to the Cambodian Crisis of 1979?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Prelude to the CGDK: An enervating meeting
In view of the Vietnamese invasion and subsequent occupation of Cambodia in the late 1970s, ASEAN and its member nations including Singapore became increasingly concerned with this challenge posed to regional security.

In 1979, the Thai Foreign Minister Upadit Pachariyangkun and the Singapore Foreign Minister S Rajaratnam met the members of the outsted Pol Pot regime, such as Kheiu Samphan and Ieng Sary. During the meeting, Thailand and Singapore deliberated on the inclusion of other Cambodian factions to oppose the pro-Vietnamese puppet regime under Heng Samrin.

Notably, this meeting had set the stage for the creation of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) in June 1982. Rajaratnam made it clear to the Pol Pot leaders that they had to take a backseat, while the other two groups, namely Sihanouk’s royalist faction and anti-communists under Son Sann, led the coalition. This was because of the controversial atrocities committed Pol Pot regime in the 1970s that would have hindered efforts to garner international support.

Minister Rajaratnam reminded them of the horrors [the Pol Pot regime] had perpetrated and that they had no chance of getting international support without forming a coalition with other nationalist groups. […] While this discussion was going on, I observed that Ieng Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirith, was giving fierce looks at our Minister, boiling with anger, breathing heavily with chest heaving and subsiding as she listened to her husband’s requests being rejected. [..] We prevailed because they had no choice. We thus cobbled together a coalition under Prince Sihanouk.

An excerpt from a chapter entitled “Scenes from the Cambodian Drama” by Mr. S. Dhanabalan in “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Chang Li Lin.

Interactions with China
During a special International Conference on Cambodia in 1980, ASEAN had lobbied for a United Nations resolution to demand the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Cambodia. During the Conference, a delegation that represented the People’s Republic of China (PRC) asserted that the Pol Pot regime should be reinstated, which drew criticisms due to moral and pragmatic reasons.

The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Han Nian Long alleged that Singapore was involved in a conspiracy to influence the attendees of the Conference to oppose the return of the Pol Pot regime. In response, Dhanabalan disagreed, stating that there was an overwhelming majority that was against this move.

I was surprised to note how keen the U.S. was to accommodate the PRC’s request. I explained to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that it was not possible to accede to the PRC’s request as it was wrong and would not get any support from the conference. He ended the meeting by threatening that he would go over my head and take the matter up with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore.

[…] PM Lee sent a note to the effect that the Foreign Minister represented the Singapore’s government’s position at the conference. It was a real life experience for me that interests and not principles determine the actions of big powers. The International Conference on Cambodia adopted a resolution that reflected ASEAN’s position.

An excerpt from a chapter entitled “Scenes from the Cambodian Drama” by Mr. S. Dhanabalan in “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Chang Li Lin.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of Singapore’s efforts in response to the Third Indochina War.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Regional Conflicts and Cooperation. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea

What is the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: Third Indochina War
In December 1978, Vietnamese forces entered Cambodian territory and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime. Subsequently, the pro-Vietnamese People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) was formed, led by Cambodian politician Heng Samrin.

An ASEAN-backed solution: Enter the Coalition
In 1980, ASEAN and China urged the Khmer Rouge and the royalists to join forces and form a coalition group to prevent the legitimisation of the PRK government. Norodom Sihanouk had set some conditions before returning to politics, such as disarmament to prevent another round of atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge as well as the deployment of peacekeepers after the Vietnamese withdrawal.

Notably, Sihanouk also requested that the country’s official name be changed from Democratic Kampuchea to Cambodia.

Leaders of the political factions Sihanouk, Son Sann and Khieu Samphan attended a summit hosted by Singapore in September 1981. Eventually, a ‘four-points’ agreement was made, which included the formation of a Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK).

With the CGDK being formed, the factions can garner foreign military support for the other two factions besides the Khmer Rouge, particuarly the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) and National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC).

On 22 June 1982, the three leaders signed an agreement to officiate the establishment of the CGDK in Kuala Lumpur. The June agreement stated that the CGDK’s aim was to “mobilize all efforts in the common struggle to liberate Kampuchea from the Vietnamese aggressors”.

More importantly, the three political factions in the coalition group would share power equally and make decisions through consensus.

On June 22, 1982, the three coalition leaders met in Kuala Lumpur to sign an agreement establishing a Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK), on the basis of four principles. Prince Norodom Sihanouk was president, with Son Sann the premier and Khieu Samphan the vice president, in charge of foreign affairs. […] and the new president launched an appeal to all friendly countries to bring aid and support for the “sacred cause”, the restoration of peace in Kampuchea and stability and security in that part of the world.

An excerpt from “Cambodia Confounds the Peacemakers, 1979-1998” by Macalister Brown and Joseph Jermiah Zasloff.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN played a crucial role in the resolution of the Cambodian Crisis?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Regional Conflicts and Cooperation. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the 1997 coup in Cambodia about

What was the 1997 coup in Cambodia about?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security)

Historical context: End of a 16-year long war
At the end of the Third Indochina War, the Paris Peace Accords of 1991 were signed. With the help of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) led by Secretary-General Special Representative Yasushi Akashi and Lieutenant General John Sanderson, free elections were held in 1993.

The elections concluded with the formation of a Cambodian coalition government led by two political parties, Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s royalist FUNCINPEC (National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia) Party and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) led by Hun Sen. The CPP held dominant control of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

It was agreed that Prince Ranariddh would assume the leadership position of Prime Minister first, then Hun Sen as the Second Prime Minister.

The coup and its impacts
On 5 July 1997, the CPP led the military in a coup against the Cambodian government, ousting Prince Ranariddh and his royalist faction.

Foreign investment nosedived. Some governments suspended aid. Cambodia’s seat at the UN was vacated under American pressure and the country’s long- awaited admission into ASEAN was postponed.

[…] These critics in Congress combined the democratic triumphalism of the post-Cold War years with a hangover from the US humiliation in Vietnam. Hun Sen, in their view, was a dictator and a war criminal. Not only had he been installed by communists, but he had been installed by Vietnamese communists. Rohrabacher later dubbed him “a new Pol Pot.

An excerpt from “Hun Sen’s Cambodia” by Sebastian Strangio.

More importantly, ASEAN had initially contemplated on extending an invitation to Cambodia to join as a member. In 1994, Cambodia was granted ‘observer’ status’, preparing it for the attainment of full membership. Following the coup, ASEAN announced its decision to postpone Cambodia’s membership admission.

Even so, ASEAN remained optimistic in offering a peaceful solution to the crisis in Cambodia. Three foreign ministers (Ali Alatas of Indonesia, Prachuab Chaiyasan of Thailand, and Domingo Siazon of the Philippines) formed an ‘ASEAN Troika‘ that offered to mediate the matter in Phnom Penh on 19 July 1997. However, the talks failed.

The Western donors and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) endorsed ASEAN’s lead role in resolving the Cambodian crisis. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emphasised that foreign aid was now conditional upon ASEAN intervention, stating that ‘cooperation with ASEAN mediation… is essential if Cambodia is to fully rejoin the international community’

[…] The ASEAN Troika’s first proposal, issued on 19 July, was for Ranariddh to be reinstated and for both co-prime ministers to appoint representatives to run a ‘caretaker government’ until the May 1998 elections. Hun Sen rejected this.

An excerpt from “ASEAN, Sovereignty and Intervention in Southeast Asia” by Lee Jones.

Hun Sen criticised ASEAN for not adhering to its non-interference principle. Sen claimed that the political turmoil in Cambodia was its own domestic matter, thus ASEAN had no jurisdiction. Fortunately, the talks finally bore fruit as Sen agreed to join ASEAN on 30 April 1999.

When ASEAN decided to postpone Cambodia’s membership, [Hun Sen] threatened to withdraw Cambodia’s application: “I am afraid of joining ASEAN because of ASEAN interference in internal affairs.” However, in the end, Hun Sen accepted ASEAN as a mediator on the condition that it refrained from interfering in Cambodia’s internal affairs and respected its role of strict neutrality.

An excerpt from “The Changing Global Order: Challenges and Prospects” by Madeleine O. Hosli and Joren Selleslaghs.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that governments were responsible for the economic instability in independent Southeast Asia?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about ASEAN as well as Regional Conflicts and Cooperation. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the purpose of the ASEAN Regional Forum - ASEAN Notes

What is the purpose of the ASEAN Regional Forum?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security)

The ASEAN Regional Forum
On 25 July 1994, member nations of the regional organisation gathered in Bangkok to establish the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Its purpose was to engage external powers and foster extra-ASEAN relations. By doing so, the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region is maintained.

1. to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern;

2. and to make significant contributions to efforts towards confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Excerpt from the inaugural ASEAN Regional Forum, 25 July 1994.

Facing Goliath: The South China Sea dispute
After the end of the Cold War, ASEAN had to deal with the challenges arising from a multi-polar world. One such challenge revolved around the South China Sea territorial dispute.

It was a contentious case not only because of the linked interests with the Chinese authorities, but also other member nations such as the Philippines and later Vietnam.

However, in the case of the South China Sea, “internationalizing” the issue served for a while as additional leverage against China’s power. Indeed, a few months after the first ARF ministerial meeting, in February 1995, the Philippines publicly complained about the discovery of Chinese facilities on Mischief Reef, off the Philippine island of Palawan.

[…] After the senior officials’ meeting in Hangzhou, the ARF has talked routinely about the South China Sea as a regional-security concern in open meeting, but without addressing the merits of individual claims or the need for other powers to intrude into the disputes.

An excerpt from “The ASEAN Regional Forum” by Rodolfo C. Severino, published in 2009.

As brought up by the former ASEAN Secretary-General (1998-2002), the ARF was a suitable platform to bring up sensitive issues without escalating them into troubling disputes.

The repeated focus on such topics as regional security matters have helped to align the perceptions of stakeholders, even though there were unfortunate flashpoints.

ARF can only work as fast and potently as ASEAN does. ASEAN centrality is its core identity. Some see that as a hindrance; in reality, the ARF continues to function because it provides a buffer between contending positions. The value of the ARF is precisely this space that it provides between growing contention within the USA, Quad, and China.

An excerpt from an opinion piece titled “Is the ASEAN Regional Forum still relevant?” by Gurjit Singh, published on 19 August 2021.

Although ASEAN had encountered obstacles in managing maritime disputes, particularly in the South China Sea, there were noteworthy achievements due to opportunities presented by the ARF.

Despite its relentless efforts to militarize the South China Sea, however, China has also shown diplomatic pragmatism in dealing with the Southeast Asian countries. On 18 May 2017, China and the ten member states of ASEAN announced that they had finally agreed on a framework for a code of conduct on the South China Sea. On 6 August 2017, the ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers endorsed the framework for the negotiation of a COC (Code of Conduct). The agreement on a framework agreement is an incremental step toward the creation of a conflict-management mechanism for the South China Sea dispute.

An excerpt from “The ASEAN Regional Forum in the Face of Great-Power Competition in the South China Sea: The Limits of ASEAN’s Approach in Addressing 21st-Century Maritime Security Issues?” by Renato Cruz De Castro.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– To what extent was the ARF effective in keeping ASEAN relevant in the post-Cold War world?

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the theme of Regional Conflicts and Cooperation, which features causes and consequences of inter-state tensions and the role of ASEAN. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.