ARF and BRF at a Glance

By | October 8, 2021


According to DICTIONARYFORALL.COM, ARF stands for ASEAN Regional Forum.


The forum was founded in 1994 with an ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Bangkok. The ARF adds a security component to the political dialogue between ASEAN and its partners. The ARF is the only institutionalized security policy dialogue forum in the Asia-Pacific region. The ARF is often referred to as the “Asian OSCE”.


To promote constructive dialogue and cooperation in the political and security field; Make significant efforts towards confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

To this end, ASEAN is to work closely with its ARF dialogue partners in order to achieve a more predictable and constructive behavior pattern in the Asia-Pacific region.

Members (27)

  • 10 ASEAN member states
  • 17 dialogue partners: Australia, Bangladesh, China PR, India, Japan, Canada, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Korea, East Timor, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, USA and the European Union

The EU is represented by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The ASEAN Secretary General has observer status.

Further external link

  • ASEAN Regional Forum
    (Official ARF website – in English)


The highest level is the annual meeting of foreign ministers (following the regular meetings of ASEAN foreign ministers). The respective host of the ministerial meeting (ASEAN chair) is also the ARF chair and coordinates all activities for a period of one year.

Between the meetings, work takes place in a series of Intersessional Support Group (ISG) meetings and academic seminars (so-called “Track Two”) on a variety of topics. The focus of the ISG meetings is the expansion of confidence-building measures. They are co-chaired by an ASEAN member and a dialogue partner.


The ARF has set itself three stages for the security policy dialogue:

  1. Promotion of confidence-building measures
    2. Development of preventive diplomacy measures
    3. Development of conflict resolution mechanisms

Current status of activities: between phase 1 and 2. A number of “soft” confidence-building measures have been implemented and the political role of the Presidency has been strengthened (preventive diplomacy). Since the end of 2001, cooperation and coordination in the international fight against terrorism has been another focus of the work of the ARF.

The 25th ASEAN Regional Forum at Foreign Minister level took place in Singapore on August 4, 2018. The 26th ASEAN Regional Forum is planned for the 3rd quarter of 2019 in Thailand.


SPOTLIGHT: The second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for international cooperation as part of the “New Silk Road” took place from April 25th to 27th, 2019 in Beijing. Heads of state and government from 37 countries as well as around 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations attended the roundtable summit of the forum.


The Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is not an international organization, but a platform for the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through the development of action plans. The BRF took place for the first time in 2017, the second meeting in 2019 (without the participation of the USA and India, among others). The Chinese leadership wants the meetings to take place regularly in the future.

From the Chinese point of view, the purpose of the forum is to “build a more open and efficient platform for international cooperation as well as a closer and stronger partnership network”. Western media also speak of “China’s new world order” or “Globalization 2.0: China’s new menu”.

Terms and definitions

The correct name and official translation of the Chinese Silk Road Initiative is ” The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. The closest to this title comes in German translation the designation “The economic belt of the silk road and the maritime silk road of the 21st century”.

In general, the term “Belt and Road Initiative” and its internationally accepted abbreviation “BRI” are used for the New Silk Road. Please note: The term “Belt” refers to the land routes, the term “Road”, in a slightly irritating way, to the sea routes of the New Silk Road.

In September 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission of China, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and other departments, standardized the English translation of the Silk Road Initiative as follows:

  1. In the official documents for external needs, the English translation for the “Economic Belt of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century” is summarized as “Belt and Road”, the English abbreviation of which is “B&R”.
  2. The word “initiative” is translated in the singular and no words such as strategy, project, program, agenda, etc. are used.
  3. As the term “Belt and Road Initiative” is a common term, the full English translation is only occasionally used when it is first mentioned. The abbreviation of the translation can be used flexibly in different circumstances. In addition to the abbreviation “BRI”, the expression “Silk Road Initiative on Land and Sea” can also be used in certain situations, while other translations are not recommended.

ASEAN Regional Forum