A Triangular Relationship
Edited by Jan Wouters, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Matthieu Burnay
Chapter 5: The EU, China and Southeast Asia: divergent views of dealing with human security in Burma/Myanmar
This chapter examines the respective approaches of the European Union (EU), China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in dealing with non-traditional security (NTS) challenges by investigating their policies toward Burma/Myanmar – a source country of numerous such challenges. It argues that, although all members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) see the need for multilateral solutions to fight organized crime, provide disaster relief, combat terrorism, prevent drug trafficking, etc., they differ with respect to the steps to be taken to protect human security in the Asia-Pacific. China, initially hesitant to join the ARF for fear that other members might try to contain it, has come to value the principal forum for NTS challenges in the Asia-Pacific since, like many ASEAN countries, it is a big proponent of non-interventionism, non-use of force and consensus decision making, that is, the confidence building mechanisms commonly referred to as the ‘ASEAN way’. The EU, as a strong proponent of human rights and the rule of law, has repeatedly criticized ARF members for allowing sovereignty-related norms to get in the way of the protection of human rights, but it has refrained from assuming the role of norm exporter.
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