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The Jakarta Agreement: What It Is and Why It Matters

The Jakarta Agreement is a significant agreement signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1987. Its objective is to promote stability, peace, and prosperity among the member countries, which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The agreement was signed in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is also known as the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea. It was a response to the increasing tensions and conflicts in the South China Sea, where several ASEAN member countries have overlapping claims with China.

In this agreement, ASEAN declared its commitment to resolving the disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful means, including negotiations, arbitration, and other peaceful methods as recognized by international law. The signatories also agreed to respect the freedom of navigation and overflight in the area and to refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions.

The Jakarta Agreement serves as a framework for cooperation among the ASEAN countries in dealing with security issues and conflicts in the region. It has also been a useful tool in promoting regional stability and strengthening the relationships among the member countries.

In recent years, the South China Sea has become a major source of tension between China and its neighbors, particularly the ASEAN countries. China has been building artificial islands and militarizing the area, which has alarmed the other countries in the region. The Jakarta Agreement remains relevant today as a means of addressing these issues and promoting peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The ASEAN countries have also been pursuing a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which would provide a set of rules and guidelines for behavior in the area. The COC is seen as a way to reduce tensions and prevent conflicts in the region. The Jakarta Agreement is a crucial foundation for the COC, as it emphasizes the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for international law.

In conclusion, the Jakarta Agreement is a significant agreement that has helped promote regional stability and cooperation among the ASEAN countries. Its emphasis on peaceful resolution of conflicts and respect for international law is as important now as it was when it was signed in 1987. As tensions in the South China Sea continue to simmer, the Jakarta Agreement remains an essential framework for managing security issues and promoting peaceful resolution of disputes.