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JC History Tuition - What is the main purpose of ASEAN - JC History Essay Notes

What is the main purpose of ASEAN?

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

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)

Find out how ASEAN has evolved over the years ever since its inception in 1967 [Video by NowThisWorld]

The tumultuous sixties: Why was ASEAN formed?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established as a regional organisation on 8 August 1967 by five members – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The regional grouping was formed during a troubling decade in which Southeast Asian governments were pre-occupied with domestic challenges, such as the rise of Communist insurgencies.

Let’s take a look at the Bangkok Declaration that was signed by the five members:

SECOND, that the aims and purposes of the Association shall be:

1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations;

2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

An excerpt from the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration), 8 August 1967.

In order to understand the purpose of ASEAN, it is imperative to consider the motivations of individual member states.

Singapore: Economics and Regional Security
For Singapore, ASEAN was a necessary grouping to address the immediate concerns of the government. On 9 August 1945, the leaders of an ‘accidental nation’ had to contend with the limited resources in Singapore. On 18 July 1967, the British announced its plans to withdraw from the East of Suez. The unexpected departure of the British forces left Singapore vulnerable to security threats.

As one of the founding fathers of ASEAN, Mr Rajaratnam played a pivotal role in fostering an ASEAN consensus and promoting a more cohesive and cooperative region. Initially, he argued that regional cooperation should be contemplated primarily in economic terms.

… Mr Rajaratnam articulated Singapore’s view that ASEAN was primarily an organisation for promoting economic cooperation and not for resolving the region’s military and security problems.

An excerpt from “S Rajaratnam on Singapore: From Ideas to Reality” by Chong Guan Kwa, S. Rajaratnam.

However, not all members were supportive of the reliance on external powers for regional security, such as Indonesia.

Indonesia: Regional leadership in a post-Konfrontasi era
The former President Sukarno’s policy of Confrontation had strained diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Subsequently, Suharto supported the formation of ASEAN not only to mend relations but also strive to assume a leadership position in the grouping.

Nevertheless, Suharto still held a common view with his predecessor in pursuing a policy of non-alignment.

In effect, the policy of konfrontasi prevented Indonesia from winning recognition as a regional leader in Southeast Asia and beyond in the non-aligned movement. Later, President Suharto would argue that Sukarno’s konfrontasi had also violated Indonesia’s bebas-aktif principle in foreign affairs, whereby Jakarta was to pursue an independent and active foreign policy, which implied avoiding an alignment with any one bloc.

An excerpt from “ASEAN’s Diplomatic and Security Culture: Origins, Development and Prospects” by Jurgen Haacke.

On 16 August 1966, Tun Razak and Adam Malik signed the Jakarta Agreement that signified the official end to the Confrontation. The Agreement was built on the basis on an earlier Bangkok Accord that required Indonesia to recognise Malaysia diplomatically. Malaysian-Indonesian relations were eventually normalised on 31 August 1967, a few weeks after ASEAN was established.

Regional cooperation was firstly intended to exorcize the ghost of confrontation, to provide a contrast between Sukarno’s confrontative foreign policy and the New Order’s more conciliatory approach.

… Nevertheless, the urgency for Indonesia to co-found ASEAN was primarily to restore the country’s regional and international standing.

An excerpt from “Indonesia in ASEAN: Foreign Policy and Regionalism” by Dewi Fortuna Anwar.

The relevance of ASEAN in the post-Cold War era
Although some critics point out that ASEAN has yet to resolve the South China Sea dispute, many recognise ASEAN’s successes in contributing to the creation of a peaceful and stable region. In 2017, ASEAN celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Moving forward, member nations have reaffirmed their commitment in advancing regional cooperation.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the ASEAN was formed as a result of economic reasons.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the regional organisation. Sign up for the online learning programme and you will receive study materials and practice questions. We teach students to think, organise and write effectively for essay and source based case study questions.

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JC History Tuition - The Enlargement of ASEAN - JC History Essay Notes

The Enlargement of ASEAN

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

Learn more about ASEAN and its member nations. [Video by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung]

ASEAN: The Founding Five
Ever since the Bangkok Declaration was signed in 1967, ASEAN was formed by five founding member nations to promote regional cooperation. The five members are: Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

In the 1980s and 1990s, five new members joined ASEAN, namely Brunei Darussalam (8 January 1984), Vietnam (28 July 1995), Laos and Myanmar (23 July 1997) and Cambodia (30 April 1999).

Let’s look at some of the key considerations for ASEAN’s new members, namely Vietnam and Myanmar.

1. Vietnam
Before Vietnam joined ASEAN, member nations of ASEAN did not establish strong diplomatic ties with said country. This was largely the result of Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1978. Its illegal occupation was perceived by many not only as a threat to sovereign rights, but also security risks.

Furthermore, ideological differences between ASEAN members (which mostly advocated democracy) and Vietnam further made it difficult for political leaders to see eye to eye.

Nevertheless, member nations, including Thailand (which was initially concerned with Vietnam’s military aggression in Cambodia) were supportive of admitting Vietnam due to the significant benefits to facilitate regional economic integration.

Fear of Vietnam defined ASEAN for much of its institutional history; now ASEAN’s main antagonist has joined the fold. The decision to allow Vietnam membership, and to fast-track the applications of other Southeast Asian states, was pushed by Thailand, which saw itself as the economic hub of mainland Southeast Asia and perceived ASEAN’s expansion as an opportunity to increase its own status within ASEAN.

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

From the Vietnam’s perspective, the consideration of becoming part of the ASEAN family was a desirable prospect. The gradual decline of the Cold War rivalry ushered a new era of political cooperation in Southeast Asia. In 1986, the Vietnamese government conducted a policy reform, known as Doi Moi, to advance economic development. As such, Vietnam adopted a more outward-looking attitude and sought cooperation with ASEAN members.

The end of the conflict in Vietnam, and of the Cold War, removed some of the barriers to co-operation. The essential factor for Vietnam’s membership into ASEAN, however, stemmed from the policy of reform or renovation (doi moi) that the Vietnamese Communist Party announced in 1986. It was this policy that led Vietnam to approach ASEAN with increasing interest from the mid-1980s.

Excerpt from “The 2nd ASEAN Reader” edited by Sharon Siddique and Sree Kumar.

2. Myanmar
As for Myanmar, the political controversies surrounding the alleged human rights violations explained the reluctance of some member states of ASEAN in accepting Myanmar’s admission. Furthermore, Western countries, including the USA, also expressed similar sentiments towards ASEAN’s decision to admit Myanmar.

In the late 1960s, ASEAN members had invited Myanmar to join the organisation. However, Myanmar was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and rejected the offer. In the early 1990s, the military government changed its stance as the leaders believed that a policy of isolationism was not desirable for its progress.

Notably, ASEAN’s past successes and effective political mechanisms (including the ASEAN Way) were motivating factors that spurred these countries to join the organisation as well.

According to Khin Ohn Thant (2001), there were at least two reasons which led to Burma’s decision to join ASEAN. First, towards at the end of the millennium, internal and external conditions had changed in the country. Domestically, Myanmar had expended large resources on internal security measures for decades, and now “the government had signed peace treaties with most of the revels, who have laid down their arms. This now allows the Myanmar Government to devote more attention to external matters, including ASEAN“.

The second reason, suggested by Khin, was that, “in this age of globalization and regionalism, the country realizes that it cannot continue to isolate itself. It needs to identify with a sympathetic group, which will treat it as one of them, and a group that will not exploit Myanmar’s weak situation.”

Most probably, the “ASEAN Way”, that is, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and its consensus-building and conflict resolution mechanisms, attracted Myanmar into the embrace of ASEAN.

Excerpt from “Myanmar in ASEAN: Regional Cooperation Experience” by Mya Than.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that ASEAN’s enlargement was successful in promoting regional unity.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about ASEAN. We cover thematic issue discussion for topics like Inter-state tensions and regional co-operation. We also provide source based case study questions (SBCS) to demonstrate the application of reading and writing skills.

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JC History Tuition - ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Cold War - JC History Essay Notes

ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Cold War

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)

ASEAN Economic Cooperation after 1976
Following the historic Bali Summit in February 1976, ASEAN members signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) as well as the ASEAN Concord. By doing so, member states expressed their common desire to promote economic cooperation against the backdrop of the growing threat of Communism in Southeast Asia.

However, it is imperative to observe that regional economic integration was not on the top of the priority list for many member nations.

Prior to the late 1980s, consideration of deep regional economic integration remained taboo and the focus was on economic cooperation…

ASEAN’s preference for regional economic cooperation rather than deep regional economic cooperation rather than deep integration in the 1970s and 1980s reflects the reluctance of some ASEAN countries to undertake trade and investment liberalisation owing to the pursuit of industrial policies of import substitution and picking winners.

An excerpt from “ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Integration” by Siow Yue Chia, Michael G. Plummer

According to the authors, “deep economic cooperation” refers to the removal of artificial barriers to promote international trade. In contrast, “economic integration” implies the aim of forming a Free Trade Agreement, economic community or customs union.

Diverging perceptions towards regional economic integration
Although the ASEAN Concord signified the member states’ desire to engage in regional economic cooperation through the setup of large-scale industrial projects within Southeast Asia, some had reservations over economic integration.

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.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asian in Search of an ASEAN Community: Insights from the former ASEAN Secretary-General” by Rodolfo C. Severino

Under Suharto’s leadership, Indonesian economist Widjojo Nitisastro took the lead in shaping the ‘New Order’ government’s economic policies. Notably, Nitisastro was part of the ‘Berkeley Mafia’ group that operated as technocrats to guide economic development in Indonesia.

Such views were expressed during the inaugural ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEMM) that was held in March 1976. Some membere states expressed concerns over access to essential resources and food like crude oil and rice respectively.

Preferential Trading Arrangement (PTA)
The PTA was introduced in July 1977, in which member nations would allow imports from other members a “margin of preference on Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs”.

After a decade of ongoing negotiations, the economic ministers agreed that the PTA would be applied to at least 90% of the items traded within ASEAN with at least 50% of the value of intra-ASEAN trade.

Unfortunately, intra-ASEAN trade remained low. During the 1991 meeting, economic ministers, it was reported that the value of intra-ASEAN trade in items covered by the PTA barely increased from US$121 million in 1987 to US$578 million in 1989.

The following document produced by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reveals the underlying problems that explained the limited success of the PTA:

The existing low level of intra-ASEAN trade has always been the rallying point for the “regionalists”, who strongly advocate a rapid growth of intraregional trade in order to diversify the region’s market base and to reduce its over-dependence on the industrialized countries.

However, intra-ASEAN trade since 1976 has simply failed to take off in real terms and remained stagnant at around the 15 per cent…

At the same time, the stagnancy of intra-ASEAN trade also reflects the tremendous structural problems and institutional biases operating against intraregional trade.

An exceprt taken from the UNIDO report titled “Regional Industrial Co-operation: Experiences and Perspective of ASEAN and the Andean Pact“, 1983.

The ASEAN Industrial Projects (AIP)
In March 1980, the AIP was formalised to encourage member states of ASEAN to engage in economic cooperation. According to the Basic Agreement on ASEAN Industrial Projects, the host country was required to invest 60% of the equity, while the other four member nations would occupy the remaining 40%.

However, ASEAN encountered stumbling blocks against due to the perceptions of intra-ASEAN competition as possible conflicts to their national interests.

Among the approved ASEAN Industrial Projects, only the urea fertilizer plants in Aceh in northern Sumatra and Bintulu in central Sarawak have survived as such. No ASEAN country was willing to see curbs on its option to put up industries similar to those allocated to another ASEAN country.

… The ASEAN countries’ lack of enthusiasm for AIP’s other than their own was indicated by the fact that Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines, as well as Singapore, were willing to commit only one per cent each of the Thai potash project’s equity…

An excerpt from “Southeast Asian in Search of an ASEAN Community: Insights from the former ASEAN Secretary-General” by Rodolfo C. Severino

The ASEAN Way: Conflict versus Consensus-building
Nevertheless, there were member nations within ASEAN that advocated regional economic cooperation, even though the slow progress in the 1980s left much to be desired.

Given Singapore’s inherent challenges of lacking a sizable market, the government was a strong supporter of ASEAN economic integration.

We have spoken in one voice against protectionist policies. For our admonitions to be effective, however, we must practise what we preach. In our policies to promote intra-ASEAN trade, we must not put barriers to trade between ASEAN and the industrial countries. We cannot expect others to keep their markets open to ASEAN products if we close our markets to theirs.

… One cardinal principle ASEAN has practised is to agree by consensus. Consensus ensures that the national interest of any member will not be compromised. I suggest the time has come for greater latitude in defining ‘consensus’ so as to widen the areas of cooperation. When four agree and one does not object, this can still be considered as consensus; and the four should proceed with a new regional scheme. An ASEAN five-minus-one scheme can benefit the participating four without damaging the abstaining one. Indeed, the abstaining one may well be encouraged to join in later by the success of the scheme.

An excerpt from a speech by then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew during the Ninth Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers, 21 April 1980.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN was effective in promoting regional economic co-operation from 1976 to 1991?

Join our JC History Tuition and consolidate your knowledge for topics like Regional Conflicts and Cooperation. We cover H1 and H2 History syllabus through online class discussions. By joining our online learning programme, you will receive study notes and feedback from our JC History Tutors to raise the proficiency of writing to ace the GCE A Level examinations.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How effective was ASEAN in maintaining regional security - JC History Essay Notes

How effective was ASEAN in maintaining regional security?

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)

Find out how ASEAN responded to the East Timorese Crisis that affected its intra-ASEAN relations, particularly Indonesia.

The Bali Summit: ASEAN Concord and TAC
Following the Bali Summit in February 1976, member states of ASEAN cooperated and produced two key documents: The ASEAN Concord and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). These agreements were formed in the wake of USA’s withdrawal from Indochina following the end of Vietnam War in April 1975. ASEAN members expressed their concerns over regional security due to the incoming tide of communist expansion in the region.

The ASEAN Concord was created to promote regional economic cooperation for the primary aim of regional security. For instance, the Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTA) was introduced to encourage intra-ASEAN cooperation so as to meet the economic demands of their respective countries. In subsequent years, economic ministers of the member states held annual meetings to oversee this aspect of development.

The TAC was introduced to promote the principle of non-interference and non-use of force so as to address inter-state tensions and maintain regional security. It is imperative to note that this form of political cooperation applied not only to ASEAN member states, but also for non-ASEAN countries.

A Test of Time: Indonesia’s Invasion of East Timor [December 1975]
Following the decision of the Portugal to relinquish its control of ‘Portuguese Timor’ (before it was known as East Timor) in 1974, local elections were held. Two major political parties, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) and the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) unified to form a coalition. Yet, internal fighting broke out and the UDT carried out a coup. The Fretilin then declared East Timor independence on 28 November 1975.

The Indonesian government perceived the rise of the left-wing Fretilin as a threat to its doorstep. The Suharto administration feared the creation of a communist East Timor could destabilise Indonesia.

As such, the government launched Operasi Seroja (Operation Lotus) on 7 December 1975. It was a full-scale military invasion that toppled the Fretilin-led government. In July 1976, Indonesia declared East Timor as its twenty-seventh province, signalling a successful and forceful annexation.

Although the United Nations condemned the act, other countries such as Australia recognised the annexation. Furthermore, ASEAN members regarded the political developments as a domestic issue, thus explaining their inaction. A more critical interpretation is that the ASEAN Way hamstrung the member states from criticising and antagonising Indonesia, given the strict adherence to the principle of non-interference.

A Role Model: ASEAN’s Response to the Vietnamese Invasion of Cambodia [December 1978]
In contrast to the East Timorese crisis, ASEAN demonstrated the effectiveness of its regional unity to the world by taking the lead in condemning the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia.

In 1988, ASEAN facilitated the Jakarta Informal Meetings (1988-1990). It involved the disputing parties such as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) and the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). Notably, these closed-door meetings provided effective as a platform for conflict resolution.

ASEAN’s efforts had paid off after the great powers followed up with the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement on 23 October 1991 that marked the official end of the war.

However, it is also important to consider the improvements in the political climate by the mid-1980s that explained the successes of ASEAN’s diplomatic efforts. In particular, the willingness of Soviet Union and China to engage in political discussions to pressure Vietnam’s withdrawal was a vital factor.

Also, ASEAN’s decision to take the side of the USA and China in condemning Vietnam’s aggression conflicted with the principles of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), since ASEAN initially rejected interference by external powers.

Concluding Remarks: Was ASEAN effective?
In view of these two case studies, we can conclude that ASEAN was faced with challenging circumstances to address various threats to regional security – ideological subversion and political interference. Therefore, some political leaders, historians and political observers have reconciled with these perceived contradictions to argue that certain conflicting actions were deemed necessary to achieve regional consensus.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of ASEAN in response to the Third Indochina War [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the case studies to analyse the applications of ASEAN’s political cooperation, it is important to attempt source-based case study questions for knowledge application. Join our JC History Tuition and learn to form logical arguments. We conduct essay writing and source based case study skills workshops to guide you through the writing process. More importantly, we teach you how to organise your points to complete these questions within the given time frame.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What were the organisations formed before ASEAN - JC History Essay Notes

What were the organisations formed before ASEAN?

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

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)

Learn more about the purpose of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO), which was largely driven by American motivations to counter the spread of Communism in Asia.

The Prelude to ASEAN
In this article, we will examine the creation of three specific regional organisations before the creation of ASEAN: SEATO, ASA and Maphilindo.

1a. Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) (Sept 1954)
In September 1954, the SEATO was created as an anti-communist organisation to prevent further ideological expansion within the Southeast Asian region.

USA was the main advocate of the SEATO due to its belief that Southeast Asian was a critical pivot point for their ideological struggle against communism.

The US-led SEATO comprised of France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.

Ironically (or not), only two Southeast Asian countries joined the SEATO. The Philippines shared close political ties with USA, thus the government was supportive of this development. Furthermore, there were communist elements (e.g. Hukbalahap) within the Philippines that could cause political instability. As for Thailand, its government joined SEATO due to the perceived Chinese communist expansion in South China.

In contrast, other Southeast Asian nations had diverging perceptions over the threat of Communism, thus explaining their reluctance to admit the SEATO. For instance, both Indonesia and Burma maintained their neutral position (recall: there were countries that were part of the “non-aligned movement“).

1b. Failures of SEATO: Absence of Commitment
Although the SEATO headquarters was established in Bangkok, Thailand, it did not possess a standing military force unlike the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). At best, joint military exercises were conducted annually.

Additionally, the SEATO defense treaty was limited to consultation due to the push for decolonisation [emphasis on self-determination]. This means that member states had to manage internal security threats on their own.

During the Vietnam War, Pakistan and France disagreed with American military involvement. In 1973, Pakistan exited from SEATO due to the organisation’s inaction during the Indo-Pakistani War (1971). More importantly, after the Americans withdrew from Indochina following the end of the Vietnam War, SEATO was no longer functional. It was disbanded on 30 June 1977.

2a. Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) (July 1961)
In January 1959, Tunku Abdul Rahman visited the Philippines. He proposed to the Philippine President Carlos P. Garcia to form the ASA. The Tunku wrote to other regional government leaders in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, seeking their feedback on this organisation.

By January 1960, only Thailand and the Philippines agreed to form the ASA. On 31 July 1961, the ASA was officially formed in Bangkok, Thailand. The main function of ASA was to promote regional cooperation.

2b. Breakdown of the ASA
However, the ASA broke down in 1963 due to conflicting views by member states as well as Indonesia. When the Tunku put forward the idea of creating the Federation of Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia strongly objected to the notion.

For Philippines, the contentious issue lie with the possibility that Sabah joined the Federation. This gave rise to the territorial dispute between Malaysia and Philippines, known as the Sabah dispute.

For Indonesia, it was largely due to Sukarno’s fear of “Neo-Imperialism”. His anti-West political views explained his hostile Confrontation (Konfrontasi) policy which lasted from 1963 to 1966.

3a. Maphilindo (July 1963)
Philippine leader, Dr. Jose Rizal, envisioned a Greater Malayan Confederation that united the Malay peoples after the end of colonial rule. On 31 July 1963, the Philippines proposed a tripartite arrangement that involved Malaya, Philippines and Indonesia (i.e. Ma-Phil-Indo).

President Macapagal led the summit in which the three nations signed agreements to affirm their commitment to resolve disputes and conflicts pertaining to the former British-led Borneo Territories.

3b. Collapse of the Maphilindo
Although the regional arrangement was perceived as a genuine desire for diplomacy, the underlying motivation that the Philippines and Indonesia had was to prevent the Tunku from establishing the Federation of Malaysia.

Eventually, the Maphilindo broke down when Sukarno launched the Confrontation to protest against the Federation.

Concluding Remarks
In view of these setbacks, ASEAN was created to overcome such differences. Member nations were encouraged to raise their concerns openly so that other members can respect their differences and find a common solution. Also, a regional organisation that comprised of member states in the region was a more reliable entity that SEATO, given the proximity of countries to potential challenges.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that political differences were the main reason for the breakdown of ASA? [to be discussed in class]

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how we conduct topical enrichment classes to broaden your knowledge of ASEAN and other A Level History topics. We provide summary notes, timelines and additional practices as well.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What happened druing the first ASEAN summit - JC History Essay Notes

What happened during the first ASEAN summit?

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)

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: What is the Bali Summit?
Now that we have examined the functions of ZOPFAN that sought to counter the rising Communist influence in Southeast Asia, it is imperative to consider the subsequent developments. ASEAN members stepped up efforts to intensify their extent of regional cooperation in the mid-1970s.

After the untimely departure of the USA from Indochina, ASEAN members were increasingly concerned with the ideological dangers that may threaten regional security.

On 24 February 1976, ASEAN held its first-ever Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The heads of states attended this historic event to develop countermeasures against the Communist threats. Notably, the meeting led to the signing of two key agreements: the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the ASEAN Concord.

Agreement #1: Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC)
Leaders of the founding five members of ASEAN signed the TAC during the Bali Summit. In general, the TAC was a political agreement to encourage peaceful cooperation among members and the mutual respect for sovereignty of states.

The purpose of this Treaty is to promote perpetual peace, everlasting amity and cooperation among their peoples which would contribute to their strength, solidarity and closer relationship,

In their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties shall be guided by the following fundamental principles :

a. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations;

b. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;

c. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;

d. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means;

e. Renunciation of the threat or use of force;

f. Effective cooperation among themselves.

Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), 24 February 1976.

Additionally, ASEAN encouraged non-members to adhere to the TAC principles in order to preserve regional peace and security. The agreement can be acknowledged as a bold attempt for the regional organisation to preserve security through non-violent means in spite of past and on-going inter-state tensions.

Agreement #2: ASEAN Concord
The second agreement is known as the ‘ASEAN Concord’ that can be interpreted as a unified response to stem the spread of Indochinese Communism. The ASEAN Concord focuses mainly on economic cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution.

The elimination of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy is a primary concern of member states. They shall therefore intensify cooperation in economic and social development, with particular emphasis on the promotion of social justice and on the improvement of the living standards of their peoples.

Member states, in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, shall rely exclusively on peaceful processes in the settlement of intra-regional differences.

The Declaration of ASEAN Concord, 24 February 1976.

Although Communism posed a clear security threat to ASEAN members, there was common consensus on adopting a non-military stance to overcome this challenge. Therefore, threats to security were usually managed through the support of countries or groupings outside ASEAN.

The ASEAN Concord proved to be a significant achievement for ASEAN as members were more willing to work together and manage the communist threats from within.

Conclusion: Is it adequate?
Ever since these two agreements signed during the first ASEAN Summit, members of the regional organization has continued to reaffirm their desire for greater cooperation, as seen by the increased frequency of intra-ASEAN and external organizational interactions (e.g. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, United Nations). ASEAN’s solidarity was later put to the test during the Third Indochina War in 1978.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Bali Summit of 1976 was a turning point for ASEAN’s efforts in managing the Cold War threats in Southeast Asia? [to be discussed in class].

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What does ZOPFAN stand for - JC History Essay Notes

What does ZOPFAN stand for?

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)

Background: How ZOPFAN was formed?
In the early 1970s, there were several notable events that took place. First, the Western powers (USA and UK) declared their position to reduce their military presence in Southeast Asia. The British announced its withdrawal of forces in 1971. Similarly, the departure of the US troops led to the fall of Saigon in 1975 during the Second Indochina War.

As such, the Communist powers (PRC and USSR) benefited from these developments. For instance, there was increased Chinese support for the communist forces in Vietnam. Besides, the signing of the Shanghai Communique between USA and PRC expanded the latter’s opportunities to assert its influence more extensively in the region.

Some member nations of ASEAN were alarmed by the growing communist threat. During the Non-Aligned Conference of 1970, Malaysia proposed a policy of ‘neutralisation’. This meant that ASEAN should reject external interference, particularly the Cold War bipolarity, in order to protect its regional security and sovereign rights.

Although there were differing interpretations of Malaysia’s suggestions, ASEAN eventually formalized it in the concept known as the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN).

The Mechanism: How did ZOPFAN work?
On 27 November 1971, the ZOPFAN was established during the Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ZOPFAN functioned as a political declaration to prevent external interference and encourage regional cooperation among ASEAN members.

DO HEREBY STATE:

1. That Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are determined to exert initially necessary efforts to secure the recognition of, and respect for, South East Asia as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, free from any form or manner of interference by outside Powers;

2. That South East Asian countries should make concerted efforts to broaden the areas of cooperation which would contribute to their strength, solidarity and closer relationship.

Declaration of Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), 27 Nov 1971

Arguably, the ZOPFAN was a display of regional unity as member states could come to a consensus on their interactions with external powers. For instance, Indonesia advocated regional cooperation within ASEAN and disregarded external involvement. Contrastingly, Singapore sought external support for security and economic reasons due to its vulnerable position geographically.

Application: Putting ZOPFAN to the test?
Although ZOPFAN was created to declare ASEAN’s position on external interference, compliance by non-ASEAN parties was difficult. The Third Indochina War of 1978 was a clear example to support this observation. From Vietnam’s perspective, they perceived ZOPFAN as an extension of Western influence and refused to cooperate.

Following the defeat in 1975 during the Second Indochina War, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia alarmed member nations of ASEAN, especially Thailand. Political observers pointed out that this occupation may result in the expansion of communist influence beyond Indochina, possibly towards the rest of Southeast Asia.

Furthermore, some of the ASEAN members supported the internationalisation of the conflict, in which the United Nations was being requested to call for Vietnam’s withdrawal from Cambodia in 1979.

In conclusion, it is imperative to consider the international circumstances and political considerations of member nations in ASEAN to understand the strengths and limitations of ZOPFAN.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the effectiveness of ZOPFAN in explaining ASEAN’s responses to the Cold War bipolarity [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have considered the functions of ZOPFAN, you can apply your content in essay and source-based case study questions. Alternatively, you can sign up for JC History Tuition. Our classes are focused on content enrichment and the refinement of thinking and writing skills. In addition, you can join other JC tuition classes, like GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How does ASEAN promote economic growth - JC History Essay Notes

How did ASEAN promote economic growth?

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)

Learn more about the recent developments of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to understand the significance of regional economic cooperation.

Origins of regional economic cooperation
ASEAN was formed as a regional organization with many aims. One of such aims included the desire for economic progress.

To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations.

The ASEAN (Bangkok) Declaration, 8 August 1967

In view of this declaration, ASEAN member states continued to pursue economic development, especially countries like Singapore.

Initial steps for economic cooperation: ASEAN Concord
On 24 February 1976, ASEAN members gathered and signed the ASEAN Concord at Bali, Indonesia. Within the agreement, member states intensified their efforts.

Member states shall progress towards the establishment of preferential trading arrangements (PTA) as a long term objective on a basis deemed to be at any particular time appropriate through rounds of negotiations subject to the unanimous agreement of member states.

The expansion of trade among member states shall be facilitated through cooperation on basic commodities, particularly in food and energy and through cooperation in ASEAN industrial projects (AIP).

ASEAN Concord, 26 February 1976

Evidently, two forms of economic cooperation emerged: namely the PTAs and the AIPs.

Approach #1: Preferential Trading Arrangements [PTAs]
On 24 February 1977, the agreement on ASEAN PTAs was adopted in Manila, Philippines. In principle, the PTA aimed to encourage intra-ASEAN trade via tariff reductions. For instance, tariff rates had to be lowered by 10%. More importantly, each member state has to indicate which product should be considered for tariff reduction.

RECALLING the Declaration of ASEAN Concord signed in Bali, Indonesia on 24 February 1976, which provides that Member States shall take cooperative action in their national and regional development programmes, utilizing as far as possible the resources available in the ASEAN region to broaden the complementarity of their respective economies.

Agreement on ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangements, 24 February 1977

Approach #2: ASEAN Industrial Projects [AIPs]
On 6 March 1980, the agreement on AIPs was signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The AIPs aimed to encourage large-scale economic projects among member states that allow the flow of investment between project partners. Similar to the PTAs, these projects had tariff reductions. For example, Indonesia and Malaysia engaged in a project that focused on urea.

Considering that the establishment of ASEAN Industrial Projects, through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership, can contribute to the acceleration of economic growth in the region.

To give priority to projects which utilize the available resources in the Member States and which contribute to the increase in food production and foreign exchange earnings or which save foreign exchange and create employment.

Basic Agreement on the ASEAN Industrial Projects, 6 March 1980

Approach #3: ASEAN Industrial Complementation [AICs]
On 18 June 1981, ASEAN members signed the agreement on AICs at Manila, Philippines. The AIC focused on resource-pooling and intra-ASEAN trade. It can be considered a continuation of the AIP that encountered setbacks.

The AIC was carried out via vertical integration. The ideal process was the involve each ASEAN member in one stage of production. For example, the “ASEAN Car” was conceptualised as the initial project. Each stage of the car production was carried out in a different country. By doing so, every member state would gain from the economic cooperation.

An ASEAN Industrial Complementation (AIC) product shall be an industrial product manufactured or to be manufactured in an ASEAN member country and allocated to that particular country as its participation in the AIC package. The product thus produced shall be entitled to enjoy the privileges herein provided for products in an AIC package.

Basic Agreement On ASEAN Industrial Complementation, 18 June 1981

Approach #4: ASEAN Industrial Joint Ventures [AIJVs]
On 8 November 1983, ASEAN signed the agreement on AIJVs at Jakarta, Indonesia. This approach involved private investors and at a smaller scale. To enhance flexibility and encourage closer cooperation, only two member countries were involved. The AIJVs also focused on tariff reductions, in which governments could enjoy up to 90% concessions.

ASEAN member countries shall examine such tentative list and indicate to COIME at a subsequent meeting, the products in which they would like to participate and declare any existing production facilities they have for such products. Those products for which at least two ASEAN member countries have indicated their intention to participate shall be included in the final list of AIJV products, showing the participating member countries.

Basic Agreement On ASEAN Industrial Joint Ventures, 7 November 1983

Approach #5: ASEAN Free Trade Area [AFTA]
On 28 January 1992, the member states of ASEAN signed the AFTA in Singapore. The AFTA marked a significant turning point for regional economic cooperation.

ASEAN shall establish the ASEAN Free Trade Area using the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme as the main mechanism within a time frame of 15 years beginning 1 January 1993 with the ultimate effective tariffs ranging from 0% to 5%.

Directions in ASEAN Economic Cooperation, The Singapore Declaration, 28 January 1992

The AFTA functioned on the basis of the CEPT scheme. Additionally, member countries could add specific products deemed important in their national interests in the ‘exclusion list’. Such products would not be subjected to tariff reductions. Notably, the AFTA proved useful as intra-regional trade rose by more than US$53 billion by 2000.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of ASEAN economic cooperation from 1967 to 2000 [to be discussed in class].

After examining the main approaches of ASEAN economic cooperation, you should apply your newfound knowledge to source-based case study questions (SBCS) to review your knowledge comprehension. Additionally, you can consider joining our JC History Tuition as we refine your answering techniques, such as information extraction, set arrangement and provenance analysis.

Furthermore, you can join JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the ASEAN Way - JC History Essay Notes

What is the ASEAN Way?

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)

What is the ‘ASEAN Way’?
The ASEAN Way is a guiding principle that shapes the approach of member nations in Southeast Asia for conflict management. It emphasises heavily on consultation and consensus-building, which later inspired the introduction of other forms of political co-operation, like the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC).

As pointed out by the former Secretary-General of ASEAN, Rodolfo Severino, in a public address, the ASEAN Way “has served Southeast Asia well” by “moving its members from animosity to the close co-operative relationship that they enjoy today”.

Origins of the ASEAN Way
Following the formation of the regional organization in 1967, member nations had to learn from past errors as well as on-going disputes. One such incident involved the “Corregidor affair” (1968), which broke out due to the territorial disputes over Sabah. Similarly, the Confrontation (Konfrontasi) of 1963 was a contentious issue that strained diplomatic relations between affected member nations. Therefore, the ASEAN Way was implemented to encourage the use of diplomacy rather than forceful means to resolve conflicts.

Interestingly, the ASEAN Way was inspired by Malay culture, seen in terms of musjawarah (consultation) and muafakat (consensus-building). This practice involves a gradual decision-making process, in which all member states must be consulted before the regional organization can come to a consensus on the possible course of action to undertake.

How does it work?
One of the core principles of ASEAN Way involves the ‘principle of non-interference’. Should one or a few member nations disagree with the proposals put forth during the ASEAN meetings, the organization must postpone the decision-making for future settlement.

The main purpose of this cautious approach is to provide adequate time for considerations and prevent the outbreak and escalation of tensions. Therefore, regional stability can be maintained.

Subsequent impacts on ASEAN’s political framework
Following its inception in the 1960s, ASEAN has evolved over time in response to the changing international climate. The ASEAN Way was implemented in the form of institutionalized forms of co-operation.

One such example is the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration (1971). Against the backdrop of the Cold War, these Southeast Asian member nations asserted a firm position to be free from external interference to prevent ideological manipulation.

Another application is observed in the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC) that emphasises heavily on amicable co-operation among member nations and non-ASEAN countries. The TAC endorses the practice of cautious diplomacy that focuses on the compartmentalization of contentious issues.

The most important case study that can be used to examine the significance of the ASEAN Way is the Third Indochina War (1978-1991) as it arguably provided a timely opportunity to display ASEAN’s solidarity to the rest of the world.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the success and limitations of the ASEAN Way in managing regional conflicts in Southeast Asia since 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the fundamental concepts of the ASEAN Way, it is imperative that you explore and attempt source-based case study questions. You can also consider signing up for our JC History Tuition to find out how you can apply your knowledge to answer similar questions that are based on past examination papers.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - Why was the ASEAN established - JC History Essay Notes

Why was the ASEAN established?

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

Examine the origins of ASEAN to comprehend its rising prominence in recent decades.

What is ASEAN?
On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization that was established. The foreign ministers of five Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand – signed the historic document, known as the ‘ASEAN Declaration‘ in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the 1980s and 1990s, ASEAN expanded its membership by including other neighbouring countries, like Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The aims and purposes of ASEAN
Within the ASEAN Declaration, it outlined what ASEAN was meant to achieve objectives such as:

1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations;

2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration), 8 August 1967.

In view of these efforts, it is important to consider the challenges that countries in the Southeast Asian region encountered in the 1950s and 1960s to understand the rationale behind its establishment.

Factor #1: Maintenance of regional security
Before ASEAN was formed, there were inter-state tensions that gave rise to conflicts. These conflicts threatened the security of affected countries, including those in the neighbouring zones. For instance, the Konfrontasi (Confrontation) was a controversial foreign policy that affected the political stability of nations, like Singapore and Malaysia. Following the de-escalation of the tumultuous phase, the formation of ASEAN would help to mend the diplomatic ties of the affected countries and encourage Indonesia to adopt a more collaborative position.

Furthermore, following the Suez Crisis, the British announced the withdrawal of its military from the region by 1971. This move raised security concerns for Singapore as its small and vulnerable state could expose the country from any potential external threat. Therefore, the formation of a regional organization (i.e. ASEAN) would arguably compensate for the departure of the external powers.

Factor #2: Assertion of an independent region free from external interference
In view of the Konfrontasi, Southeast Asian nations formed the regional organization to promote accommodation and collaboration between one another. Although some of these member nations held contrasting perspectives towards co-ooperation with external powers, there was a general consensus that ASEAN would become the central focus in promoting intra-ASEAN engagement.

For example, Singapore was supportive of the formation as it would lead to the increased accessibility of the region’s markets. Following the ‘Separation’, Singapore was in dire need of economic support from abroad to facilitate its economic nation-building efforts. In 1967, it was estimated that Southeast Asia had a combined market of more than US$280 million. Hence, intra-ASEAN trade would no doubt be beneficial for member nations.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that security reasons were the most important in explaining the formation of ASEAN in 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have learnt the reasons that explain the formation of ASEAN, we strongly encourage you to attempt related source-based case study questions to review your knowledge application skills. Alternatively, you can join our JC History Tuition as we provide numerous practice questions and review your answers to ensure that there is progressive learning.

Furthermore, you can find out more about other JC tuition programmes, like GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up now.