At first, it was seen as an old stratagem.
When Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presented a draft declaration on the framework principles of strengthening security and developing cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region at the East Asia Summit (EAS) foreign ministers' meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan early this month, it was initially seen as a rehashing of an archaic proposal on collective security - something ASEAN had repeatedly rejected more than 2½ decades ago.
As things turned out, however, it was different. The draft contained fresh and ambitious ideas that resonated well in the minds of ASEAN strategists. Since the end of 2011, South-east Asian diplomats have been searching for ways to engage with the United States' rebalancing policy, officially known as the US pivot to Asia.
In 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and then Chinese President Hu Jintao began stressing the need for a new security architecture to ensure peace and security in the Asia- Pacific region. Since then, the two countries have quietly worked on the idea.
Meanwhile, the US' new Asia policy was gathering momentum, thanks to its strong support for ASEAN's common positions on the South China Sea. The US profile had been augmented earlier after Washington's accession to the 1976 ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in South-east Asia in July 2009.