Who Can be Referred to as Contracting Party of TAC?
By writing this very succinct information on TAC, hopefully any folks who browse internet in searching of the same answer can find something helpful from this piece and could help them in their research.
TAC is the abbreviation of Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. TAC was signed on 24 February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia. It was signed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Up until this writing, the Treaty had gone through three amendments in 1987 (Manila), 1998 (Manila), and in 2010 (Han Noi), respectively. It currently enjoys adherence from more than twenty states, including countries such as United States, Russia, French, China. I just heard that UK was planning to accede the TAC. If it does, then all the P5 (Permanent Five of UN Security Council) are High Contracting Parties of TAC.
The Treaty was created as a basis for cooperation to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and enhancing regional resilience as well as to enhance peace, friendship, and mutual cooperation among the Parties.
Parties to the TAC are referred to as High Contracting Parties. Practically, this can be seen from its preamble which stated that, “The High Contracting Parties: … … … “. This can be seen also from its body text where the articles use such reference. For instance, Article 4 says, “The High Contracting Parties shall promote active cooperation in the economic, … … … … “ This show that drafters of the Treaty agreed to use this specific term rather than the terms that are commonly used such as “State Party”, “Party” or other generic references which are widely used in international treaties.
Other thing that is worth explaining is about the fact that TAC was not meant at the first place to be open for accession by states outside the Southeast Asia region.
Before it was amended, last paragraph of Article 18 stated that TAC is only open for accession by other states in Southeast Asia. On its second amendment in 1987, the High Contracting Parties agreed to modify Article 1 of the Treaty. The second amendment had enabled states outside Southeast Asia to accede TAC on condition that all states in Southeast Asia, which are signatories to TAC, give their consent.
The third amendment came with new breakthrough allowing regional organizations to accede the Treaty. This also attached a pre-condition that member of the regional organization concerned are only sovereign states, however. The third amendment also added that consent to the acceding states should be given by all states in Southeast Asia as mentioned on the TAC, and not merely Southeast Asia signatories countries like it previously did.
Conclusively, any states that have acceded TAC would be referred to as High Contracting Parties.
I am aware that there might be question on why TAC was created, or why it was conceived at the first place. Also, what were the factors that once driven the signatories to sign the Treaty, etc. I think I shall get back to it some day. In the meantime, hopefully this piece can be of abundance and practical help to you. Be not hesitate to comment on everything shall you have one!