The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consented here Saturday to the accession of Timor-Leste to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia in documents signed by all foreign ministers attending the 12th ASEAN Summit.
With the signing of the Instrument of Extension of TAC, Timor- Leste thus became the 12th state outside Southeast Asia to accede to the Treaty, shortly after France joined the TAC on Saturday.
The other 10 non-ASEAN states that have already acceded to the TAC are China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Russian Federation, together with Australia which filed their Instrument of Accession only last year in the Kuala Lumpur summit.
Jose Luis Guterres, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, signed the Instrument of Accession on behalf of his government.
The TAC, which was first signed in February of 1976 in Bali, Indonesia, was amended by the First and Second Protocols in 1987 and 1988.
It specifically and legally binds all its ASEAN signatories to peaceful co-existence and respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs and non-use of force.
The Treaty's Amity clause emphasizes increased contact and interaction among ASEAN's peoples to ensure closer understanding. Its Cooperation clauses oblige active efforts at consultation on international and regional matters with a view to policy and action coordination.
They also restrict individual signatory states from participating in activities that constitute a threat to the political and economic stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of another signatory state.
The operationalization of the TAC, therefore, is facilitated by finding equilibrium between the definitive principles of sovereignty and non-interference, and the regulatory provisions for necessary transnational action and coordination.
The TAC is accompanied by two amending protocols which permit its extension to non-Southeast Asian states with reservations, and also acknowledges the expansion of ASEAN to include new members.