We, the undersigned citizens of the Southeast Asia, meeting in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, on 30-31 May, 1994, do hereby adopt and advocate the following vision for our region.
We believe that Southeast Asia should be a community. Collectively, this community should be a major political, economic, cultural, and moral entity on the world stage in the twenty-first century.
Geography has consigned us to living in close proximity with each other, and geography has made it incumbent upon us to meet, live, and work together as good neighbours. Throughout our common history, trade and cultural exchanges have characterised our relations with one another. However, we have oftentimes failed the tests of good neighbourlines. Conflicts and wars have risen, and geographical proximity meant that in such conflicts and wars of us ultimately lost something in the process.
Geography has given us a shared destiny, and fact of this shared destiny, we believe, means that we must strive to build a Southeast Asian community.
This community should be a pluralistic community
It should be a community of equal and sovereign states, each with its own identity, preferred interests, valued relationships, and conceptions of development and progress, but also with a sense of common destiny, shared perceptions of its own future, and common commitments to the enhancement of regional peace and prosperity, fundamental human values, and the basic principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
Furthermore, this Southeast Asian community should also be a community of peace and prosperity. The states and peoples of Southeast Asia should strive to create structures of relationships and shared values, which enable them to live in peace with one another and with the rest of the world, to engage in mutually rewarding co-operation among themselves and with others, and to develop the potentials of their own human and natural resources to the fullest extent, so that prosperity can be shared by all.
This Southeast Asian community of peace and prosperity that we envision should be a model of international co-operation for the rest of the global community.
Lastly, we believe that, by virtue of being a model of international co-operation and by enhancing the regions strengths through collective endeavours and synergy, this Southeas, at Asian community should also strive to be a building block towards a global community. In this way it becomes a central actor on the global political and economic stage.
In the past, military might determined the destiny of nations. Increasingly and into future, international influence is and will be founded upon other factors, most notably, economic and technological dynamism, qualities of national resilience and moral leadership, and demonstrations of ability to achieve peace and security through amity and consensus-building.
We firmly believe that the time has come to articulate and pursue this vision of Southeast Asia. For the rapid and far-reaching changes which have been taking place since the end of the Cold War offer us a unique opportunity to shape our own destiny as the twenty-first century approaches.
To realise this vision of Southeast Asia, there are a number of principles which we believe to be imperative.
The first principle is national and regional resilience. By this we mean the need to develop and rely upon individual and collective capacity to mobilise the full potentials of our human and natural resources, while seeking ways and means of minimising our shortcomings and limitations.
The second is unity in diversity. This means a recognition that, while there are certain opportunities and challenges which are of direct, and sometimes critical, concern to individual states, these can be best taken advantage of and coped with through collective efforts. These opportunities include trade, investment, and human and natural resource developmentnd the challenges consists of such problems as the environment, narcotics, illegal movements of people, piracy and the spread of disease.
The fourth is open regionalism. This means a recognition that, while we wish to build stronger and more cohesive community, there is also the need to be outward-looking, to look beyond Southeast Asia, and to continue to strengthen political, economic, and cultural ties, be they bilateral or multilateral, with countries outside the region.
To become such a community, Southeast Asia must adopt a multi-dimensional strategy.
In the political and security dimension, we should:
- strengthen the network of bilateral relations among Southeast Asian states;
- strengthen and expand ASEAN membership to include all regional states;
- extend accession to the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Co-operation to all regional states;
- encourage all Southeast Asian states to participate in ASEAN-sponsored or-initiate fora, including the ASEAN Regional Forum, as mechanism for region-wide dialogues in political security matters; and
- convene regular consultations among all Southeast Asian leaders, to strengthen the habit of co-operation and to set the direction and pace of community-building.
In the economic technological dimension, we should:
- accelerate the full implementation of the AFTA and CEPT agreements by the year 2000;
- prepare and initiate the phased integration of other Southeast Asian states into AFTA and CEPT;
- promote collaboration in research, development, and distribution of alternative energy resources, as well as the management of other natural resources of regional value;
- set up a regional mechanisms to study and recommend ways of stimulating intra-regional investment, development of technology and human resources, as well as transitional flows of information and knowledge; and
- extend the ASEAN Business Forum to other Southeast Asian states. In the social and cultural dimensions, we should:
- take immediate steps to facilitate and expand people-to people contacts and exchanges;
- harmonise immigration laws and procedures;
- establish Southeast Asian press and information networks;
- promote Southeast Asian studies and languages in educational institutions;
- establish a Southeast Asian university system;
- establish a Southeast Asian Cultural Center in each of the Southeast Asian countries; and
- set up a Southeast Asian disaster relief mechanism.
To achieve this vision, a number of "flagship projects and measured must be adopted immediately.
Among them are:
A Southeast Asian Summit
There should be a Southeast Asian Summit, which can be an informal meeting, to give impetus to the building of a Southeast Asian community. This should take place as soon as possible.
A Southeast Asian Initiative on Cambodia
There should be a dual-track regional initiative on Cambodia. The first track consists of political and diplomatic initiatives directly to revitalise and consolidate the peace process. The second involves mobilisation of funds for social and economic reconstruction, which will serve to underpin the efficacy of the political and diplomatic moves. Such mobilisation can include the issuance of bonds, officially endorsed by Southeast Asian governments, or the establishment of a bank for the reconstruction of Cambodia.
A Southeast Asian Initiative on the South China sea
Southeast Asian leaders should endorse the ASEAN initiative on the South China Sea and immediately undertake concrete projects of co-operation for confidence-building among the states concerned.
Management of Transboundary Problem
A series of meetings at ministerial and senior official levels should be urgently convened to develop mechanisms for resolving the various transboundary problems, including illegal movements of people, narcotics, smuggling, piracy, the spread of contagious diseases, natural resources management and environmental conservation.
Economy and Technical Co-operation
A series of meeting at ministerial and senior official levels should be urgently convened to increase and expand economic and technical co-operation among all Southeast Asian countries. The main emphasis in the initial stages should be on track, investment and human resources development.
A Southeast Asian Initiative on Alternative Renewable Energy Sources
Southeast Asian should immediately undertake the development of alternative renewable energy resources, such as rip-tide deuterium, to be shared by the region.
Southeast Asian Support for the Mekong River Projects
Southeast Asia should immediately demonstrate its commitment to support projects aimed at harnessing and equitably utilising the resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries. This commitment will serve to promote and underline the sense of regional identity, as well as to encourage a development which is likely to benefit the region as a whole.
A Southeast Asian Development Corps
Southeast Asia should immediately establish a "Southeast Asian Development Corps". This will offer opportunities, especially for the young, to learn about other countries problems and their solutions at first hand, and foster a sense of regional identity.
ASEAN Support for One Southeast Asia.
At the 1995 ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, the ASEAN leaders should collectively support this vision of a Southeast Asian Community.
We, the undersigned citizens of Southeast Asia, invite all peoples and nations to share in this vision collectively work towards the realisation of a peaceful and prosperous Southeast Asia.
Done in manila, Republic of the Philippines, on 31 May 1994