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(January 29, 2019) Elevating the TAC as a global code of conduct - Kavi Chongkittavorn

 A reference of Asean's most well-known regional code of conduct, known as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), in the Chiang Mai retreat's statement, deserves recognition. It was intriguing, coming at this juncture, as to why it deserved a distinctive paragraph with 90 words. Indeed, the TAC has been the life and soul of Asean since its founding in 1967.

When Asean was formed, the group's founding fathers were busy trying to make sure the new regional bloc would be able to survive. Internally, newly independent countries were busy replacing colonial governments. Uncertainty resulting from such a quick transition and the emergence of the Cold War added to their headaches. Indeed, in the late 60s, the Western community was not so appreciative in responding to the indigenous creation in this neck of the woods. Asean was perceived as anti-Western, while the communists viewed it as a petit capitalist club. Asean was neither: the founding partners wanted to save the region from the savagery of war and being a pawn in major powers' chess game.