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A snapshot during the first Conference in 1955.
The building in 2007. Now it is a museum of the conference.

The first large-scale Asian–African or Afro–Asian Conference—also known as the Bandung Conference—was a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on April 18-24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia. The conference was organized by Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and India and was coordinated by Ruslan Abdulgani, secretary general of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference's stated aims were to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism or neocolonialism by the United States, the Soviet Union, or any other imperialistic nation. The conference was an important step toward the crystallization of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Contents

History

The conference reflected what they regarded as a reluctance by the Western powers to consult with them on decisions affecting Asia in a setting of Cold War tensions; their concern over tension between the People's Republic of China and the United States; their desire to lay firmer foundations for China's peace relations with themselves and the West; their opposition to colonialism, especially French influence in North Africa and French colonial rule in Algeria; and Indonesia's desire to promote its case in the dispute with the Netherlands over western New Guinea (Irian Barat).

Soekarno, the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, portrayed himself as the leader of this group of nations, naming it NEFOS (Newly Emerging Forces).[1]

Major debate centered around the question of whether Soviet policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia should be censured along with Western colonialism. A consensus was reached in which "colonialism in all of its manifestations" was condemned, implicitly censuring the Soviet Union, as well as the West. China played an important role in the conference and strengthened its relations with other Asian nations. Having survived an assassination attempt by foreign intelligence services on the way to the conference, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, displayed a moderate and conciliatory attitude that tended to quiet fears of some anticommunist delegates concerning China's intentions.

Later in the conference, Zhou Enlai signed on to the article in the concluding declaration stating that overseas Chinese owed primary loyalty to their home nation, rather than to China – a highly sensitive issue for both his Indonesian hosts and for several other participating countries.

A 10-point "declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation," incorporating the principles of the United Nations Charter was adopted unanimously:

  1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations
  2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations
  3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small
  4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country
  5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself, singly or collectively, in conformity with the charter of the United Nations
  6. (a) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defence to serve any particular interests of the big powers
    (b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries
  7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country
  8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties own choice, in conformity with the charter of the United Nations
  9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation
  10. Respect for justice and international obligations.[2]

The Final Communique of the Conference underscored the need for developing countries to loosen their economic dependence on the leading industrialized nations by providing technical assistance to one another through the exchange of experts and technical assistance for developmental projects, as well as the exchange of technological know-how and the establishment of regional training and research institutes.

The United States of America, through its Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, shunned the conference and was not officially represented. However, Representative Adam Clayton Powell (D-N.Y.) attended the conference and spoke at some length in favor of American foreign policy there which assisted the United States's standing with the Non-Aligned. When Powell returned to the United States to report on the conference, the House of Representatives honored him for his contributions.

The conference of Bandung was preceded by the Bogor Conference (1954) and was followed by the Belgrade Conference (1961), which led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement.[3] In later years, conflicts between the nonaligned nations eroded the solidarity expressed at Bandung.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Conference, Heads of State and Government of Asian-African countries attended a new Asian-African Summit from 20-24 April 2005 in Bandung and Jakarta. Some sessions of the new conference took place in Gedung Merdeka (Independence Building), the venue of the original conference. The conference concluded by establishing the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP).

Participants

Countries represented in the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, Indonesia on 1955. Twenty-nine countries were present representing over half the world's population. Vietnam is represented twice by both North and South Vietnam.
Member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (2007). Light blue states have observer status.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cowie, H.R. (1993). Australia and Asia. A changing Relationship, 18.
  2. ^ Jayaprakash, N D (June 05, 2005). "India and the Bandung Conference of 1955 – II". People's Democracy - Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) XXIX (23). http://pd.cpim.org/2005/0605/06052005_bandung%20conf.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-07.  
  3. ^ Nazli Choucri, "The Nonalignment of Afro-Asian States: Policy, Perception, and Behaviour", Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, Vol. 2, No. 1.(Mar., 1969), pp. 1-17.

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