By Ambassador (p) Gheorghe SAVUICA*


  • On May 31, 2024, on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Defense Forum, a very highly attended and globally appreciated security conference in Asia, Singapore, the US and Chinese defense chiefs met, behind closed doors, for the first time since 2022, being a follow up of the decision taken during last meeting between the Presidents of the two countries to restore military – to - military dialogue.


According to the official statements, both sides shared the conclusion that their meeting yielded positive results: resuming telephone conversations between theatre commanders in the coming months and convening a crisis-communications working group by the end of the year. This important restoration of the military communications is coming under severe and multiple regional circumstances of which the entire world is aware and is afraid of their possible dangerous consequences.

Analysing the same official statements on the debated subjects on contentious issues including the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, one could understand that there was no any step back or any flexibility in the firm official positions of the US and China, in spite of the persisting undesired and counterproductive developments for the security, peace and stability in Asia-Pacific, and not only. Certainly, our day’s global geopolitical revelry is the cause of war, instability and serious tensions in many parts of the world.

Both defence chiefs underscored the benefit of the dialogue. This could be an encouraging achievement for further consolidation of the de-tensioning of the bilateral relations between China and the USA started after their recent highest level political meeting. Asia-Pacific needs to remain calm and secure!

  • On May 8, 2024, the 31st Meeting of the ASEAN- European Union (EU) Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) was held in Jakarta as a follow up of the successful 24th Ministerial Meeting in Brussels on February this year.


ASEAN and the EU welcomed the continued wide-ranging, substantive policy dialogues between ASEAN and EU counterparts supported by the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), which promotes dialogue and cooperation on a wide range of policy areas of shared interest.

The EU and ASEAN reaffirmed their commitment to regional cooperation and integration, and rules-based multilateralism by respecting and promoting international law and internationally agreed norms and standards, in line with the UN Charter. They also recognised the importance of a rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, equitable and transparent multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, by intensifying engagement in bilateral trade and economic issues, exploring avenues in the short and medium terms to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as the digital economy, green technologies and green services and supply chain resilience. The perspective is targeting a future ASEAN-EU FTA as a common long-term objective. In that respect, both sides welcomed the ongoing work of the ASEAN-EU Joint Working Group for Trade and Investment. They both looked forward to the 20th ASEAN Economic Ministers-EU Trade Commissioner Consultation later in 2024.

The two partners will enhance digital cooperation as reflected in the ASEAN-EU Joint Ministerial Statement on Connectivity in line with the stated vision of the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025.

ASEAN and the EU recognised that peace, security and stability in ASEAN and the EU are vulnerable to a range of common, transboundary threats – including terrorism, violent extremism, cyber-attacks, maritime security challenges, illicit trade in and use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials, and the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

It is evident that the dialog relations between EU and ASEAN is very well developed and exercised with best results for the benefit of their peoples as well as for peace, security and stability in both regions..


  • On May 27, 2024, Republic of Korea, Japan and China issued the joint declaration after their 9th trilateral summit, held in Seoul, the first such multidimensional important event in four years, marking the 25th Anniversary of the trilateral cooperation with participation of the President of the Republic of Korea and Prime Ministers of Japan and China.


The official document is underpinning the appreciation that the institutionalized trilateral cooperation has deepened in various areas, benefiting the three countries and peoples and positioning itself as a meaningful platform for regional cooperation. The Ninth Trilateral Summit carries valuable meaning for revitalizing the trilateral cooperation between these three neighbouring countries sharing everlasting history and infinite future with significant potentials for cooperation across multiple domains.


Concurrently, it underlined the assurances of the three countries regarding their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and to an international order based on the rule of law and international law. In this context, they shared the importance for states to abide by their commitments under the international law and agreements among states.


In order to get the support of their peoples, which is the most important required condition to guarantee a full success, the future developments will be focused to identify and implement mutually-beneficial cooperation projects centred on six key areas closely related to the everyday lives of the peoples: people-to-people exchanges; sustainable development including through climate change response; economic cooperation and trade; public health and ageing society; science and technology cooperation, digital transformation; and disaster relief and safety. In particular, we will seek to deepen the bonds of cooperation in the field of exchanges between future generations, as we share the view that such exchanges are crucial in consolidating a long-term basis for the trilateral cooperation.


The means to accomplish the projected goals will be the consolidation of institutionalization of the trilateral cooperation, undertaking multiple and vast trilateral cooperation projects for the peoples of the three countries and maintaining regional and international peace, and prosperity.


Likewise the commitment of the EU and ASEAN, the joint declaration of the trilateral summit, firstly, is emphasizing that the three countries reaffirmed their support for the open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core ( the formulation is the same) and, secondly, they will  keep discussions for speeding up negotiations for a Trilateral FTA, aiming at realizing a free, fair, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial FTA with its own value.


Recognizing that the trilateral cooperation has developed in close partnership with the ASEAN, the three countries agreed that there is the need to continue to expand it  in the context of ASEAN frameworks such as the ASEAN+3 (APT), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). For the benefit of the reader’s understanding it is worthy to underline that ASEAN frameworks are recognized by all its partners.


The Tenth Trilateral Summit will be hosted by Japan.


History proves that the ultimate resort to prevent or end a crisis, war or any other tension in international relations has to be the dialogue among the parties involved and their allies. Unfortunately, some or even many times, this truth is ignored. Currently, the United Nation Organization has a diminished influence. Many countries are demanding these days the restoration of its power.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or view of IRSEA.


* The author is the Founder and President of IRSEA and Founder and Honorary President of Romania-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is a graduate of Moscow State Institute of International Relations. As a career diplomat with over four decades of diplomatic service, an University recognized  specialist on Southeast Asia and ASEAN, speaker of Bahasa Indonesia, Russian and English, he represented Romania as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Pakistan and Indonesia and Chief of Mission, with Cabinet Letter, to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cyprus, Finland and Estonia.

He published multiple articles, thought-pieces and commentaries reflecting his views on current dynamics in International Affairs and the ongoing developments related to the greater scope of Europe Asia relations. He authored several major chapters in edited volumes on Romania’s Foreign Policy, published by the Romanian Academy.

Ambassador (p) Savuica is a former Director of the Republic of Moldova Division, former Director of the Asia Pacific Division and former Director General of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ROMANIA.

He is married and has two daughters, a granddaughter and a grandson.