Towards ASEAN Community: One Vision, One Identity, One Community

Oleh :Adi Satyadi Nagara

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967, base to Bangkok Declaration. Historically, before the era of strengthening cooperation between south-east Asian countries, relation in this region was not as good as what we gain nowadays. There are many conflict of interest exist between states in south-east Asia. For instances, conflicts of state border (Indonesia-Malaysia, Philippines-Malaysia, Malaysia-Thailand), humanitarian conflicts (Vietnam and Myanmar), and also security crisis, fulfilling day-to-day political relation. For that reason, the five states (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) initiated to shape the concept of cooperation that make inter-state relation in region going well and high-trusted. Through many mechanism and negotiation in Bangkok (August 1967), the five states finally make a deal with the framework of cooperation by declaring legal framework named as Bangkok Declaration. This is the milestone for south-east Asian countries to reach closer relation. After declared Bangkok Declaration, the five states becoming the first original members of ASEAN. In early years, they tried to make inter-state ties by confidence and trust building between members in the context of strong regional cooperation. ASEAN helped the member states to increase economic growth, maintaining social and cultural development, and also stabilize regional peace and freedom. The core principles of these relations are equality, sovereignty, consensus and consultation, common interest, and solidarity. All members should define these principles came into force in its domestic and regional ties policies.

Nowadays, ASEAN members consist of ten countries by five additional states joining this organization in the next decades of relation (Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Lao, Myanmar, and Cambodia). At this time, the issues of cooperation developed not only in economic and social context, but also security and political issues, environmental issues, and inter-regional issues.[1] The scope of ASEAN relation came into growth day by day. The rising of awareness to make closer and global scope regional ties, opening the paradigm of all government to build the stronger framework of ASEAN by initiating constitutional legal base of cooperation. The 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore (November 2007) was success to form a common legal framework by defining of ASEAN Charter. This Charter aimed to develop and grow all parts of south-east Asian countries in closer relation, not only in the context of G-to-G, but also make an ASEAN identity by awareness of one community in their society.

ASEAN Community and The ASEAN Charter

The ASEAN new phase of cooperation view as a result of external and internal influences rising in the circumstance of regional scope such as international terrorism, environmental issue, peace and freedom, disarmament and nuclear weapon presence. All ASEAN members aware, that they obligate to ensure the region from distrust and disintegration. Existential problem in region both from internal and external influences need to be solved by common understanding and solidarity. Growing ASEAN commitment to strengthen the region adopted by ASEAN Vision 2020. The creation of ASEAN Community was begin in The 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali, and generate the concept of mutual respect and non-interference principle to foster strong ASEAN.[2] There are three pillars in ASEAN Community arrangement, ASEAN Security and Political Community (ASPC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and ASEAN Social and Cultural Community (ASCC). These three pillars describe how member states seriously think about important way to become greater regionalism and integration. The ASEAN Vision 2020 was accelerated in The 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu (Philippines), by “Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015”. The summit insists all member state governments to accelerate the form of ASEAN Community in 2020 by 2015. It has a greater change of optimism in ASEAN countries to build a greater binding community.

The ASEAN Charter was signed in The 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore on November 2007. It is the strong legal framework of ASEAN countries consist of rules, obligation, rights, dispute settlement, and institutionalize regional organization. It is aimed to transform ASEAN from only political association become international organization that has legal personality, rule-based organization, and has effectiveness and efficiency of organizational structure. The charter itself, bring a new hope of ASEAN society to view all south-east Asian countries as one community by nurturing the sense of belonging and united in diversities.

Facing the ASEAN Community

Indonesia is a biggest country in ASEAN with greater potential market, human resources, natural resources, economic calculation (by GDP), and also largest archipelago state. Therefore, we have very important role in whole process and mechanism of ASEAN policies. We have big bargaining position to become core power state and driving force to enhance ASEAN come into power. Although we aware our great potential, we have to work in a context of togetherness and solidarity, especially in solving the problem. The commitment of consensus should enforced by all member states.

Government, as a front-line to ensure this process of integration, should support all element of its own society, both to reach MDGs[3] and to prepare our society which is ready to face ASEAN commitment. In the era of ASEAN integration, there will be free movement of peoples, goods, and services. So that we have to make sure that we are compatible and competitive citizen. It need the serious action of government and all elements within this country, to build a sense of togetherness, competition and one important is the sense of nationality. The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”, so that we should guard our cultural identity as an Indonesian peoples. In addition, Indonesia must openly aware the importance of soft power by spreading the understanding of our national and cultural heritages around the ASEAN countries. That simple, but has more and more significant to build common understanding not only in government level, but also in a whole ASEAN society.

In other word, we must behave as well as powerful state by knowing our tangible and intangible potential sources. We are one nation of Indonesia, we are the richest both cultural and natural resources country, and we are prominent and dignitary states. We must look within ourselves optimistically, not pessimistic. The era will begin soon and sooner.


[1] Framework cooperation between all ASEAN members and China, Japan, South Korean named as ASEAN + 3.

[2] The 9th ASEAN Summit held in Bali (Indonesia) by generating Bali Concord II as a common commitment to shape ASEAN Community.

[3] There are many points of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), decrease poverty, affordable access of health and education, increase standard of living, social welfare, and concerning environmental development.

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