Archive for September 5, 2011

PIONEERING ASEAN’S REGULATORY REFORM FRAME

September 5, 2011

PIONEERING ASEAN’S REGULATORY REFORM FRAME

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Instituting regulatory reform frameworks within the ASEAN is truly a tough job to perform. Being an evolving economic union, the first set of regulatory frames is naturally the trade regimes. This can move on to the financial-monetary regimes, which will be capped by the formation of the ASEAN Central Bank comes 2015 union.

But ASEAN has gone beyond the economic, such as the concurrence on improving human rights in the region. Though the regulatory and executory frameworks of the said diplomatic regime haven’t exactly galvanized yet, at least it set the tone for non-economic dialogue and collaboration that are doorways to future political and cultural frames.

Below is an update report about the landmark regulatory framework dialogue of ASEAN states. Needless to say, I am very supportive of such an creating of regulatory reform architecture in the short run.

[Philippines, 05 September 2011]
ASEAN’s Regulatory Reform Dialogue a First
Jakarta, Indonesia, 27 July 2011
ASEAN integration took another step forward, as delegates met for the First ASEAN Regulatory Reform Dialogue (ARRD) in Jakarta today.
The Dialogue – chaired by Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam -is an important avenue to exchange views and information on regulatory reform efforts and policy measures, and to discuss measures and activities to take forward ASEAN initiatives on regulatory reform related issues.
This effort is a positive and pro-active step towards looking into ways to deal with impediments to trade, and investment facilitation, as ASEAN advances its economic integration.
Specialists in structural and regulatory reforms from the World Bank, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Secretariat, also shared their knowledge, tools, approaches and experiences at the Dialogue.
In today’s complex and interconnected world, regulations assume a greater role than ever before as a fundamental tool of government, and an integral part of a well-functioning economy. Regulatory reform is a multi-faceted task that involves various stakeholders, and it requires co-operation between all levels and all stakeholder groups in ASEAN, namely government administration, business, and peoples.
Dato Lim said that “ASEAN is diverse and there is no ‘one size fits all’ formulation to addressing regulatory reform . but there is scope for a degree of regulatory coherence in many areas, especially in areas committed under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint”. He further elaborated that “undertaking regulatory reform will never be an easy task and it is essential to start the process of socialising the issue of regulatory reform within ASEAN today”.
The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, S. Pushpanathan, who participated in the Dialogue, articulated that “behind the border regulatory reform could assist ASEAN countries in realising the full potentials and benefits of trade, investment liberalization, and facilitation at the border.” He further added that, “for a successful regulatory reform to take place, it is important that we bring in the private sector and other stakeholders to participate in the regulatory reform and policy-making process”.
During the Dialogue, each ASEAN country presented the progress, challenges and issues related to regulatory and structural reform that has and is being undertaken in the areas of trade in services, investment facilitation and transport. The Members then exchanged views on their respective reform efforts and discussed on the possibility of cooperation in these three areas at the regional level.
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ASEAN-CHINA BILATERAL RELATIONS WARMING UP

September 5, 2011

ASEAN-CHINA BILATERAL RELATIONS WARMING UP

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

ASEAN-China relations has been warm all along, save for the nuisance obtaining from the disputed territories. China’s flexing of its muscles by releasing its first aircraft carrier—indicative of its naval evolution from ‘brown water’ to ‘blue water’ navy—worked to escalate the tensions and insecurities of China’s neighbors particularly ASEAN, Taipeh, and Japan, tensions that have undermined the cooperative ethos already building up among East Asian neighbors.

Incidentally, the effort towards creating greater connectivity and collaboration between ASEAN and China has been sustained across the years. Below is an update news from ASEAN about the sustained warming up with China.

[Philippines, 05 September 2011]

Source: http://www.asean.org/26470.htm
China Keen to Further Strengthen Bilateral Relations with ASEAN in the New Century
Bali, Indonesia, 22 July 2011
The agreement on the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea is a “momentous and historic” landmark, and a reflection that the ASEAN Regional Forum works, said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.
This sentiment was shared by Chinese Foreign Minister Mr Yang Jiechi, who described the agreement as a “very important” landmark.
The two leaders met at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Bali, co-chaired by Viet Nam and China.
“China will actively cooperate with ASEAN in the drafting of the Code of Conduct,” said Mr Yang. Quoting from the Chinese saying that “a thousand mile journey begins with the first step”, he stressed that it was an important first step by China and ASEAN “towards practical cooperation, and building mutual trust”.
The announcement of the agreement on the Guidelines on Wednesday, made headlines across the Asia-Pacific, with many media analysing its importance and impact to peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Dr Surin and Mr Yang agreed that 2011 is an important year for ASEAN and China, as it marks the 20th anniversary of bilateral ties. A series of celebratory activities have been planned in Beijing and ASEAN. Dr Surin pointed out that the focus to bring the celebrations to the people, dovetails with Indonesia’s emphasis on a people-centred ASEAN.
Indonesia is the Chair of ASEAN this year, and Jakarta has virtually pulled out all stops to make sure its Chairmanship is a meaningful one.
On the future of bilateral relations, Dr Surin and Mr Yang agreed that an important cornerstone in its relations is the exchange among our youth – especially the exchange of students between ASEAN and China.
Both leaders are also looking forward to a successful summit this year to wrap up the celebrations.
Mr Yang noted that for the first decade of this millennium, China and ASEAN have jointly achieved the biggest free-trade area of the developing world, and the two sides should build on this and aim for another landmark achievement in the second decade.
The upbeat sentiments were also expressed by Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Pham Gia Khiem.
The Ministers expressed their commitment to work together in implementing the ASEAN-China Plan of Action, and in developing collaborative activities to strengthen ASEAN-China connectivity.
On the South China Sea issue, the Ministers noted China’s exhortation to make the area “a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation”. They also noted the importance attached by China to freedom of navigation and safety.
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
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BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

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ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
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RUSSIAN-ASEAN RELATIONS PROPPED UP

September 5, 2011

RUSSIAN-ASEAN RELATIONS PROPPED UP
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

I am a strong believer in ASEAN unity, even as I’m strongly convinced that socio-economic and institutional development of its member nations will be accelerated by many folds should they forge an economic union at the least and a political union at the max.
In the international relations terrain, ASEAN can leverage its unified strengths vis a vis former world powers. It is gladdening to note that even prior to the 2015 economic union, such relations are already being forged with couples of nations and regions, inclusive of Russia.
I would prefer the mutual benefits that relating parties can have in terms of the sharing of expertise. Experts constitute the greatest innovators that can build prosperous nations, as 77% of development is constituted by human & social capital. Only 5% of development is contributed by natural resources, so the forging of stronger ties with emerging markets such as Russia should go beyond the conventional “we-bond-to-exchange-natural-resources” Jurassic cliché.
Below is an update ASEAN report about the status of the dialogue between the Russian Federation and the ASEAN.
[Philippines, 04 September 2011]
Source: http://www.asean.org/26480.htm
JOINT STATEMENT OF
THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE
15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASEAN-RUSSIA DIALOGUE PARTNERSHIP
Bali, 22 July 2011
1. We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprising Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Russian Federation, held the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference with the Russian Federation on 22 July 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership.

2. We acknowledged with satisfaction that since the establishment of the full ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership in 1996, our cooperative partnership has developed and become comprehensive, turning into an important factor for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Considerable progress has been made in all spheres of ASEAN-Russia relations with the establishment of an effective dialogue partnership and cooperation mechanisms.

3. We recalled that the Dialogue Partnership has been elevated to the highest level. The First ASEAN-Russia Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 13 December 2005 laid a strong foundation for the dialogue partnership and defined priority areas of cooperation. The Second ASEAN-Russia Summit in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 30 October 2010, reaffirmed our commitment to consolidate and further promote ASEAN-Russia progressive and comprehensive partnership. In this regard, we look forward to holding further ASEAN-Russia Summits on a regular basis and an intensified exchange of bilateral visits of Heads of State and Governments of the ASEAN Member States and the Russian Federation.

4. Russia reiterated its continued support for maintaining ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. ASEAN welcomed Russia’s active contribution to promoting peace, stability and socio-economic development in the region. We reaffirmed our commitment to the development of an ASEAN-led regional architecture that is open, transparent and inclusive, and based on principles of consensus, multilateralism and equality, and generally-accepted norms of international law. This architecture would include the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). ASEAN and Russia are prepared to make efforts with a view to developing working relations between ASEAN-led arrangements and other key multilateral fora, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Russia appreciated ASEAN’s support for its participation in the East Asia Summit and reaffirmed its readiness to contribute to the EAS process in order to make the expanded forum a common ground for dialogue on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

5. ASEAN commended Russia’s accession to the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and its ratification of the Third Protocol to the TAC.

6. We are convinced that the establishment of a South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) can contribute towards global nuclear complete disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation which are crucial for regional peace, security and stability. We confirmed that ASEAN and Russia will work constructively with a view to ensuring early accession of the Nuclear Weapon States to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty. To that end, the Russian Federation is willing to continue together with other Nuclear Weapon States, consultations with ASEAN on early resolution of outstanding issues pertaining thereof on the basis of the groundwork already done.

7. ASEAN highly appreciated Russia’s continued support for the regular participation of the ASEAN Chair in the G20 Summits.

8. We pledged to continue joint efforts to maintain peace and stability at the regional and global levels. We are convinced that all disputes between states should be resolved through dialogue and by peaceful means without the threat or use of force. We reaffirmed our mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states in accordance with international law.

9. We attached importance to promoting innovative projects in the framework of ASEAN-Russia cooperation, inter alia, in the areas of peaceful use of outer space, non-conventional and renewable energy, tourism, agriculture and food security. We are confident that their realization will contribute to the economic modernization of ASEAN Member States and Russia, the bridging of the development gap between ASEAN countries, socio-economic progress of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Russia reiterated its strong commitment and support for ASEAN’s integration and community building process, including through the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity. We agreed to explore enhanced connectivity between ASEAN and other regions, including Russian Far East. ASEAN looked forward to Russia’s support for the implementation of the IAI Work Plan II and other sub-regional initiatives aimed at bridging the development gaps within ASEAN, as well as the practical steps on the Russian side towards developing partnerships in support of the Mekong River basin development and enhancing regional capacity programmes.

10. We are committed, in accordance with the Joint Statement of the Second ASEAN-Russia Summit and the Comprehensive Programme of Action to Promote Cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Russian Federation 2005-2015, to enhance cooperation in the key areas such as trade, investment, energy security, including renewable and alternative energy, combating terrorism and transnational crime, disaster preparedness and response, science and technology, health care, education, SME, culture and tourism. We noted with satisfaction that the Second ASEAN-Russia Summit gave considerable impetus to the broadening of contacts between the relevant ASEAN bodies and Russian agencies.

11. We noted the fruitful activities of the ASEAN-Russia Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and the ASEAN-Russia Senior Officials Meetings on Transnational Crime Consultations, as a framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism and transnational crime. Russia welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism in May 2011. We reiterated strong commitment to work effectively and efficiently to fight against terrorism.

12. We attached importance to the early finalization of the ASEAN-Russia Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation Roadmap and ASEAN-Russia Disaster Management Cooperation Work Plan, and the implementation of the ASEAN-Russia Energy Cooperation Work Programme.

13. We underscored the need for greater cooperation between ASEAN and Russia in natural disaster early warning and mitigation. To this end, we would further explore practical cooperation, including establishing permanent channels of information exchange, and a system of mutual expert support, including the working-level contacts between National Emergency Management Centre of the EMERCOM of Russia and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).

14. We considered the implementation of projects supported by the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund to be especially helpful in enhancing the outcome of our cooperation. In this regard, ASEAN appreciated the Russian Government’s decision to increase annual contributions to the Fund, beginning in 2011.

15. We recognized the importance of promoting inter-civilizational and intercultural dialogue and moderation, which we considered to be a crucial element in preventing global and regional conflicts and ensuring international peace and security and promoting tolerance, culture of peace and respect for diversity. We further supported cultural cooperation, closer people-to-people contacts, in particular among representatives of parliaments, academia, youth and business communities, and increased cultural exchanges in addition to promoting tourism. In this connection, we considered the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the Governments of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Government of the Russian Federation of 30 October 2010 to be a basis for such cooperation and therefore called for its early entry into force.

16. We look forward to further enhanced ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership on the basis of mutual benefit and shared interests and see this partnership as an important element of the evolving regional architecture. ASEAN welcomed Russia’s support for an ASEAN community playing proactive role in the global community of nations.

17. We welcomed the steps to carry out the Programme of Activities to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership and believed that this occasion presents a good opportunity to review our existing cooperation with a view to elevating our partnership to a higher level.
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
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ASEAN-CHINA LANDMARK DEAL ON SOUTH CHINA SEA

September 5, 2011

ASEAN-CHINA LANDMARK DEAL ON SOUTH CHINA SEA

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Gracious day to all!

All is well that ends well. Let us hope that this holds true for the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea or ‘West Philippine Sea’. The brewing conflict can erupt into a full-scale war if it remains to linger in hot caldrons of uncertainties, unresolved using diplomatic tools and methods.

Below is an update news about the landmark deal between ASEAN and China regarding the disputed territories.

[Philippines, 04 September 2011]

Source: http://www.asean.org/26468.htm
ASEAN-China Reaches Landmark South China Sea Deal
Bali, Indonesia, 20 July 2011
ASEAN and China have agreed on the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
The landmark agreement was reached after talks between senior officials from both sides in Bali.
“This is a significant and good start for us to work together to continue dialogue and cooperation with a view to further promote this stability and confidence in the region,” Mr Pham Quang Vinh, Assistant to Viet Nam Foreign Minister told reporters after the meeting.
Reflecting similar sentiments, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the officials would submit what they had approved to their Ministers for final endorsement.
“This is an important milestone document on the cooperation among China and ASEAN countries,” said Mr Liu to reporters. “And we have a bright future and we are looking forward to future cooperation.”
Although still at the early stage, the document raised hopes for a peaceful resolution to the overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
In his speech to the delegates yesterday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has stressed the importance of stability in the area.
“We need to send a strong signal to the world that the future of the South China Sea is a predictable, manageable and optimistic one. And we need to finalise that long overdue guidelines,” he said, adding: “we need to get moving to the next phase, which is identifying the elements of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.”
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com