It is indeed difficult to predict the future of relations between Asean and key major powers. However, what we can legitimately request and expect is that these relations be based on rules and principles accepted by all parties.
Here, the political background is promising thanks to a diplomatic document born of the East Asia Summit (EAS) on November 19, 2011, and entitled “Declaration of the 6th EAS on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations”.
The declaration is signed by the 10 members of Asean as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US. In it they reiterate their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and other recognised principles of international law.
All 18 EAS participating countries declared themselves willing to create a peaceful environment to further enhance cooperation and strengthen their existing bonds of friendship. In keeping with the principles of equality, partnership, consultation and mutual respect, all are expected to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world at large.