Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is an organisation formed by the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore in 1967 to promote economic growth, peace, security, social progress and cultural development in the southeast Asian region.

ASEAN History

ASEAN was established on 8th August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration (a.k.a ASEAN Declaration) by the founding fathers of the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. The preceding organisation was the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) comprising of Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Five other nations joined the ASEAN in subsequent years making the current membership to ten countries.

ASEAN Members

  • Thailand (founding member)
  • The Philippines (founding member)
  • Malaysia (founding member)
  • Singapore (founding member)
  • Indonesia (founding member)
  • Brunei (joined in 1984)
  • Viet Nam (joined in 1995)
  • Lao PDR (joined in 1997)
  • Myanmar (joined in 1997)
  • Cambodia (joined in 1999)

There are two observer States namely, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste (East Timor).

ASEAN Purpose

  1. Accelerating economic growth, cultural development and social progress in the region by joint initiatives in the spirit of partnership and equality to cement the foundation for a peaceful and strong community of SE Asian countries.
  2. Promoting peace and stability in the region by incorporating respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationships between nations and adherence to the United Nations principles.
  3. Promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance in subjects of common interest in social, economic, cultural, administrative, scientific and technical domains.
  4. Providing assistance to member countries via training and research facilities in the educational, administrative, technical and professional domains.
  5. Cooperating for a better usage of agriculture and industries, trade expansion (including studying the problem of international commodity trade), improving communication and transportation facilities, and improving living standards among the people.
  6. Promoting SE Asian studies.
  7. Exploring more avenues for further cooperation among themselves, and maintaining close and advantageous cooperation with other international groupings of similar objectives.

ASEAN Fundamental Principles

  1. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
  2. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
  3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
  4. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
  5. Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
  6. Effective cooperation among themselves.

ASEAN Headquarters

The body is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Secretary General: Lim Jock Hoi

Official Languages: Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese

Working Language: English

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