View Full Version : US says not ready to accede to ASEAN non-aggression pact

07 Oct 05,, 05:47
US says not ready to accede to ASEAN non-aggression pact

First posted 02:28pm (Mla time) Oct 05, 2005
Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON -- The United States said it has no plans to sign a non-aggression treaty with Southeast Asia even though other big powers Russia, China, and India have become signatories to underscore security commitment to the region.
Australia, a key US ally, has also agreed to accede to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, abandoning Canberra's option to launch preemptive military strikes against terrorist bases in the region.

The three-decade old treaty bans signatories from using violence to settle conflicts in the region, a key policy of ASEAN, which was established during the height of the Cold War.

But the United States is reluctant to sign the treaty, which is also a precondition laid down by ASEAN for those wanting to participate in an inaugural East Asian Summit it would hold in December.

"We have a very active and productive dialogue with ASEAN on a full range of issues," a State Department official said. "Although we have discussed the treaty in the past, we have no current plans to sign the agreement," he told Agence France-Presse.

The official did not say why Washington is reluctant to ink the pact but some experts believe it is due to bureaucratic rather than strategic reasons.

The issue goes back to President Ronald Reagan's days, when during the Cold War there was a sense that there should be no restrictions on the free movement of US forces, particularly the navy, in East Asia, according to Marvin Ott, a professor at National War College in the National Defense University in Washington.

"I think what we are now seeing is pure bureaucratic inertia due to past attitude plus an American security bureaucracy saddled with many other things. There is, in fact, no strategic reason why the United States should not sign the treaty," he told Agence France-Presse, speaking in a personal capacity.

ASEAN leaders have appealed to the United States on several occasions to sign on the dotted line to reaffirm its political and security commitment to the region.

Last month at the sidelines of the United Nations, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the current chairman of ASEAN, said: "We would like to invite the United States to consider acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation [as] such a step would indeed serve as a symbol of political commitment to the region by the United States."

The treaty "is a very important and key document in the life of ASEAN," he said.

Aside from China, Russia and India, the other treaty signatories are Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Pakistan.

Australia is to do the same in December this year ahead of taking its seat at the first East Asian summit in Kuala Lumpur together with ASEAN's 10 members Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Japan, South Korea, China, India and New Zealand.

Australia has traditionally not favored signing the treaty but decided to accede to it after ASEAN made it a key precondition for attending the summit.
US reluctance to sign the treaty comes despite ambitious plans by Washington to rapidly expand ties with the region, diplomats said.

Preparations are underway to hold the first ever summit meeting between US President George W. Bush and ASEAN leaders next year.

In addition, officials are set to begin working on a blueprint for cooperation between ASEAN and the United States to be adopted when they commemmorate their 30th anniversary of relations in 2007.

Proposed by Washington, the "US-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership" agreement has an action plan to achieve common vision across a full range of economic, political and security issues.

The United States is the largest trading partner for ASEAN and a top investor in the region.


07 Oct 05,, 06:09
IMHO we should not sign this... Burma is a member of ASEAN... enough said....

07 Oct 05,, 06:30
Just another peace of paper that dictatorships will violate at their convenience but will be hung around our necks when we defend ourselves. No thanks.

07 Oct 05,, 18:54
Just another peace of paper that dictatorships will violate at their convenience but will be hung around our necks when we defend ourselves. No thanks.

Not as much defending ourselves... but I would hate to have America's hands tied once Burma heats back up... :mad:

10 Oct 05,, 21:24
Non-aggression pacts are nine times out of ten are a way buying time to shore up one's military.

10 Oct 05,, 21:28
I agree, non-aggression pacts are usually soft pieces of legislation. They don't hold up well to a real threat. Pieces of paper rarely protect you.

I'm going to have to look more into this matter though.