It fosters trust among member countries and other partners, and enhances economic, social, and cultural cooperation across Southeast Asia.
The result is partially attributed to the principle of consensus, a prime condition for ASEAN’s cooperation over many decades.
Since its establishment in 1967, ASEAN founders proposed “ASEAN method” to ensure the bloc’s flexibility, adaptability, vitality, and long-term development.
“ASEAN method” is a decision-making process with respect for consensus via consultation, persuasion, and dialogue, as well as gradual progression, no direct criticism of other members, and equality of duty and rights.
Consensus and solidarity are the core principles in “ASEAN method” which reflects ASEAN’s identity. ASEAN has successfully built mechanisms to work with other powers to benefit its interests.
ASEAN’s core values, principles, and standards have been recognized internationally, and they include respecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference of internal affairs, and peaceful solutions for regional disputes.
Over the past 50 years, consensus has helped ASEAN maintain internal unity in dealing with critical issues and ensure equal rights and responsibilities.
All member countries have been consulted in the policy-making process. ASEAN has renovated itself to adapt to new situations and opportunities. Additional mechanisms to supplement the consensus principle will help maintain ASEAN’s unity in diversify and improve cooperation and ASEAN’s central role in the Asia-Pacific region in the future.