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Jakarta Post

A more interventionist ASEAN is needed

  • Awidya Santikajaya

Washington, D.C.   /   Fri, April 29 2011   /  09:21 am

A fresh arms conflict between Cambodia and Thailand over the last several days looks like it was a time bomb that erupted suddenly. It is really the most serious dispute between ASEAN members since its establishment in 1967. The conflict has not only taken 14 lives, but has also deteriorated ASEAN’s prospect of becoming an effective institution. The long-standing claim by ASEAN leaders that Southeast Asia is one of the most stable regions has been seriously challenged by the conflict.

Indonesia, which chairs the ASEAN, took an active stance by offering unarmed military observers to the Cambodia-Thailand border and arranging and hosting a bilateral negotiation. However, Indonesia’s good intention to help resolve the dispute faces a considerable constraint, given that both Cambodia and Thailand have taken firm positions on the issue.

Cambodia has attempted to multilateral...