SINGAPORE, 10 December 2015 – Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat convened a seminar on “Rules-Based ASEAN” in Singapore on 9-10 December. Representatives of the ASEAN Senior Officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and legal experts from the ASEAN Member States attended.

The participants discussed issues such as how to best define and set parameters for a rules-based ASEAN and how diverse cultures across the ASEAN Member States and the “ASEAN Way” impact ASEAN’s transformation into a rules-based community. The potential next steps toward evolving into a “rules-based” institution were also discussed.

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, the Executive Deputy Chair for RSIS and former Secretary-General of ASEAN, in his opening remarks noted that this event was the first time ASEAN officials (Track I representatives) and legal experts and academics (Track 2) have come together to discuss this issue which he hoped would lead ASEAN’s transformation into a rules-based community.

The Honorable Evan P. Garcia, Undersecretary (Deputy Minister) of the Department of Foreign Affairs Philippines stressed the importance of the seminar and emphasised that “the rules-based approach to managing and resolving regional issues should continue to be a primary feature of engagement within ASEAN. Thus, an ASEAN-style rules-based order would have to be conceptualised.”

This seminar was supported by the United States Agency for International Development.