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Association of Southeast Asian Nations

A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various Asian region
al organisations v d e
ASEAN achieved greater cohesion in the mid-1970s following the changed balance o
f power in Southeast Asia after the end of the Vietnam War. The region's dynamic
economic growth during the 1970s strengthened the organization, enabling ASEAN
to adopt a unified response to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1979. ASEAN's f
irst summit meeting, held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976, resulted in an agreement o
n several industrial projects and the signing of a Treaty of Amity and Cooperati
on, and a Declaration of Concord. The end of the Cold War between the United Sta
tes and the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s allowed ASEAN countries to exer
cise greater political independence in the region, and in the 1990s ASEAN emerge
d as a leading voice on regional trade and security issues.[26]
On 28 July 1995, Vietnam became ASEAN's seventh member.[27] Laos and Myanmar (Bu
rma) joined two years later on 23 July 1997.[28] Cambodia was to have joined at
the same time as Laos and Burma, but its entry was delayed due to the country's
internal political struggle. It later joined on 30 April 1999, following the sta
bilization of its government.[28][29]
In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus[30] comp
osed of the members of ASEAN as well as the People's Republic of China, Japan, a
nd South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing influence of
the United States in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian r
egion as a whole.[31][32] However, the proposal failed because of heavy oppositi
on from the US and Japan.[31][33] Member states continued to work for further in
tegration, and ASEAN Plus Three was created in 1997.
In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was adopted as a
schedule for phasing out tariffs with the goal to increase the "region's compet
itive advantage as a production base geared for the world market". This law woul
d act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). AFTA is an agreemen
t by member nations concerning local manufacturing in ASEAN countries. The AFTA
agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore.[34]
After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian propos
al, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, was put forward in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It called for better integration of the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN
Plus Three countries, China, Japan, and South Korea.
The bloc also focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995,
the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed with the intenti
on of turning Southeast Asia into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The treaty took ef
fect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states had ratified it. It
became fully effective on 21 June 2001 after the Philippines ratified it, effec
tively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.[35]
Main article: ASEAN Charter
The Secretariat of ASEAN at Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta, Indone
On 15 December 2008, the members of ASEAN met in the Indonesian capital of Jakar
ta to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer t
o "an EU-style community".[36] The charter turned ASEAN into a legal entity and
aimed to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million
people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated: "This is a mome
ntous development when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating, and transforming its
elf into a community. It is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in A
sian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing
a seismic shift". Referring to climate change and economic upheaval, he conclude
d: "Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in
the 1960s and 1970s".
The 2008 global financial crisis was seen as being a threat to the goals envisio
ned by the charter,[37] and also set forth the idea of a proposed human rights b
ody to be discussed at a future summit in February 2009. This proposition caused
controversy, as the body would not have the power to impose sanctions or punish
countries which violated citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in eff
ectiveness.[38] The body was established later in 2009 as the ASEAN Intergovernm
ental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). In November 2012, the commission adopt
ed the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.[39]
The ASEAN Way[edit]
The 'ASEAN Way' refers to a methodology or approach to solving issues that respe
cts the cultural norms of Southeast Asia. Masilamani and Peterson summarise it a
A working process or style that is informal and personal. Policymakers constantl
y utilize compromise, consensus, and consultation in the informal decision-makin
g process... it above all prioritizes a consensus-based, non-conflictual way of
addressing problems. Quiet diplomacy allows ASEAN leaders to communicate without
bringing the discussions into the public view. Members avoid embarrassment that
may lead to further conflict.[40]
It has been said that the merits of the ASEAN Way might "be usefully applied to
global conflict management". However, critics have argued that such an approach
can be only applied to Asian countries to specific cultural norms and understand
ings notably due to a difference in mindset and level of tension [41]:pp113-118
Critics object claiming that the ASEAN Way's emphasis on consultation, consensus
, and non-interference, forces the organisation to adopt only those policies whi
ch satisfy the lowest common denominator. Decision making by consensus requires
members to see eye-to-eye before ASEAN can move forward on an issue. Members may
not have a common conception of the meaning of the ASEAN Way. Myanmar, Cambodia
, and Laos emphasise non-interference while older member countries focus on co-o
peration and co-ordination. These differences hinder efforts to find common solu
tions to particular issues, but also make it difficult to determine when collect
ive action is appropriate in a given situation.[42]:161-163
ASEAN Plus Three[edit]
The 16 member countries of the RCEP
Purple: ASEAN Plus Three
Teal: ASEAN Plus Six
The leaders of each country felt the need to further integrate the nations in th
e region. Beginning in 1997, the bloc started creating organisations with the in
tention of achieving this goal. "ASEAN Plus Three" was the first of these and wa
s created to improve existing ties with the People's Republic of China, Japan, a
nd South Korea. This was followed by the even larger East Asia Summit (EAS), whi
ch included ASEAN Plus Three countries as well as India, Australia, New Zealand.
This new group acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community whic
h was supposedly patterned after the now-defunct European Community. The ASEAN E
minent Persons Group was created to study the possible successes and failures of
this policy as well as the possibility of drafting an ASEAN Charter.
In 2006, ASEAN was given observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
[43] In response, the organisation awarded the status of "dialogue partner" to t
he UN.[44]
ASEAN Plus Six[edit]
ASEAN became ASEAN Plus Six with additional countries: Australia, New Zealand an
d India. Codification of the relations between these nations has seen progress t
hrough the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
, a proposed free-trade agreement involving the 16 countries of ASEAN plus six.
RCEP would, in part, allow the members to protect local sectors and give more ti
me to comply with the aim for developed country members.[45]
Selection of GDP PPP data (top 10 countries and blocks) in no particular order
ASEAN is built on three pillars:[7] the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC
),[46] the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC),[47] and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Comm
unity (ASCC).[48]
ASEAN sought economic integration by creating the AEC by the end of 2015. This e
stablished a common market.[49] The average economic growth of ASEAN's member na
tions during 1989 2009 was between 3.8% and 7%. This economic growth was greater t
han the average growth of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which wa
s 2.8%.[50]
The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which was established on 28 January 1992,[34]
includes a Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) to promote the free flow
of goods between member states.[49] When the AFTA agreement was originally signe
d, ASEAN had only six members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sin
gapore, and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Burma in 1997, and Cambod
ia in 1999. The newcomers have not fully met AFTA's obligations, but they are of
ficially considered part of the AFTA as they were required to sign the agreement
upon entry into ASEAN, and were given longer time frames in which to meet AFTA'
s tariff reduction obligations.[51]
The next steps are to create a: single market and production base, a competitive
economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region that
is fully integrated into the global economy.
Since 2007, ASEAN countries have gradually lowered their import duties to member
nations. The target is zero import duties by 2016.[52]
In February 2016, President Obama initiated the inaugural US-ASEAN Summit at Sun
nylands for closer engagement with ASEAN, as China's economic and trade growth h
ave dimmed. The territorial disputes in the South China Sea were also discussed.
However, in a final joint statement, the Sunnylands Declaration did not allude
to the South China Sea by name, instead calling for: "respect for each nation's
sovereignty and for international law". Analysts believe the wording indicated d
ivides within the group on how to respond to China's maritime strategy.[53][54]
ASEAN countries have many economic zones (industrial parks, eco-industrial parks
, special economic zones, technology parks, and innovation districts). UNIDO Vie
t Nam (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) has compiled in 2015
a list of economic zones in the ASEAN Economic Community in a report titled "Eco
nomic Zones in the ASEAN" written by Arnault Morisson.
Internal market[edit]
By the end of 2015, ASEAN plans to establish a common market based upon the four
freedoms. The single market will ensure the free flow of goods, services, skill
ed labour, and capital.
Until the end of 2010, intra-ASEAN trade was still low. Trade involved mainly ex
ports to countries outside the region, with the exception of Laos and Myanmar, w
hose foreign trade was ASEAN-oriented, with 80% and 50% respectively of their ex
ports going to other ASEAN countries.[55]
In 2009, realised foreign direct investment (FDI) was US$37.9 billion and increa
sed two-fold in 2010 to US$75.8 billion. 22% of FDI came from the European Union
, followed by ASEAN countries (16%), and by Japan and the USA.
The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services (AFAS) was adopted at the ASE
AN Summit in Bangkok in December 1995.[56] Under AFAS, ASEAN member states enter
into successive rounds of negotiations to liberalise trade in services with the
aim of submitting increasingly higher levels of commitment. At present, ASEAN h
as concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.[57]
Free flow of skilled labour[edit]
Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) have been agreed upon by ASEAN for eight pr
ofessions: physicians, dentists, nurses, architects, engineers, accountants, sur
veyors, and tourism professionals. Individuals in these professions will be free
to work in any ASEAN nation after the AEC goes into effect on 31 December 2015.
[58] Applicants must be licensed and recognised professionals in these fields in
their home countries. They can move to other ASEAN countries to practice, but t
hey must pass that country's licensing test. In Thailand, licensing tests will b
e in the Thai language. In addition, one cannot be an independent practitioner.
Any foreign professional intending to work must collaborate with a local busines
s. Given these hurdles, it is unlikely that there will be significant migrations
of professionals in the near-term.[59] A Chulalongkorn University study predict
s that more developed countries stand to benefit the most from the free flow of
Free trade[edit]
Free trade initiatives in ASEAN are spearheaded by the implementation of the ASE
AN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and the Agreement on Customs. These agreemen
ts are supported by work done by several sector bodies to plan and to execute fr
ee trade measures, guided by the provisions and the requirements of ATIGA and th
e Agreement on Customs. The progress being made by these sector bodies forms a b
ackbone for achieving the targets of the AEC Blueprint and establishing the ASEA
N Economic Community by the end of 2015.[61]
The year 2007 was the 40th anniversary of ASEAN's formation. It also marked 30 y
ears of diplomatic relations with the USA.[62] On 26 August 2007, ASEAN stated t
hat it aims to complete all of its free trade agreements with China, Japan, Sout
h Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand by 2013. This is in line with the sta
rt of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.[63][64] In November 2007, ASEAN memb
ers signed the ASEAN Charter, a constitution governing relations among ASEAN mem
bers and establishing ASEAN itself as an international legal entity.[65] During
the same year, the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed (15
January 2007) by ASEAN and the other members of the EAS (Australia, The People'
s Republic of China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), which pursues ener
gy security by finding energy alternatives to conventional fuels.[66]
On 27 February 2009, a free trade agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN regional bloc o
f ten countries and Australia, and its close partner New Zealand was signed. It
is believed that this FTA would boost combined GDP across the twelve countries b
y more than US$48 billion over the period between 2000 and 2020.[67][68] ASEAN m
embers, together with the group's six major trading partners (Australia, China,
India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), began the first round of negotiations o
n 26 28 February 2013, in Bali, Indonesia on the establishment of the Regional Com
prehensive Economic Partnership.[69]
ASEAN six majors[edit]
Six majors refers to the six largest economies in the area that are many times l
arger than the remaining four ASEAN countries:
Country Population
(in millions) GDP (Nominal 2017)
(millions of US dollars)[70] GDP (Nominal Per Capita)
(US dollars) GDP (PPP 2017)
(millions of US dollars) [71] GDP (PPP Per Capita)
(US dollars)
Indonesia 260.6 $1,020,515 $3,895 $3,257,123 $12,432
Thailand 67.9 $432,898 $6,265 $1,226,407 $17,749
Philippines 103.3 $329,716 $3,102 $878,908 $8,270
Malaysia 30.8 $309,860 $9,623 $922,057 $28,636
Singapore 5.6 $291,861 $51,431 $514,837 $90,724
Vietnam 95.3 $215,829 $2,305 $648,234 $6,925
ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF)[edit]
The ACMF is a collaboration among the seven stock exchanges of Malaysia, Vietnam
(2 exchanges), Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. It includes 70%
of the transaction values of the seven ASEAN stock exchanges.[72] Its objective
is the integration of ASEAN stock exchanges so as to compete with international
Development gap[edit]
ASEAN members by
Human Development Index[73]:22 24
Country HDI (2015)
Singapore 0.925 very high
Brunei 0.865 very high
Malaysia 0.789 high
Thailand 0.740 high
Indonesia 0.689 medium
ASEAN 0.684 medium
Vietnam 0.683 medium
Philippines 0.682 medium
Laos 0.568 medium
Cambodia 0.563 medium
Myanmar 0.556 medium
When Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined ASEAN in the late 1990s, concer
ns were raised about a gap in average per capita GDP between older and newer mem
bers. In response, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was formed by ASEA
N as a regional integration policy with the goal of bridging this developmental
divide, which, in addition to disparities in per capita GDP, is manifested by di
sparities in dimensions of human development such as life expectancy and literac
y rates. Other than the IAI, other programmes for the development of the Mekong
Basin where all four newer ASEAN members are located that tend to focus on infrastru
cture development were enacted. In general, ASEAN does not have the financial re
sources to extend substantial grants or loans to the new members. Therefore, it
usually leaves the financing of these infrastructure projects to international f
inancial institutions and to developed countries. Nevertheless, it mobilised fun
ding from these institutions and countries, and from the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Mal
aysia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Thailand) themselves, for
areas where the development gap needs to be bridged through the IAI programme. O
ther programmes intended for the development of the ASEAN-4 take advantage of th
e geographical proximity of the CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam) countries a
nd tend to focus on infrastructure development in areas like transport, tourism,
and power transmission.[74]
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)[edit]
RCEP consists of all ten ASEAN countries plus six countries (China, Japan, South
Korea, Australia, India, and New Zealand) which have trade agreements with ASEA
N countries. RCEP covers 45% of the world's population and about a third of the
world's total GDP. For example, 60% of New Zealand's exports are to RCEP countri
es. RCEP is an extension of ASEAN plus three, and then ASEAN plus six.[75][76][7
Monetary union[edit]
The concept of an Asian Currency Unit (ACU) started in the middle of the ninetie
s, prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[78] It is a proposed basket of Asia
n currencies, similar to the European Currency Unit, which was the precursor of
the Euro. The Asian Development Bank is responsible for exploring the feasibilit
y and construction of the basket.[78][79]
Since the ACU is being considered to be a precursor to a common currency in the
future, it has a dynamic outlook of the region.[80] The overall goal of a common
currency is to contribute to the financial stability of a regional economy, inc
luding price stability. It means lower cost of cross-border business through the
elimination of currency risk for the members of the monetary union. Greater flo
ws of intra-regional trade would put pressure on prices, resulting in cheaper go
ods and services. Individuals benefit not only from the lowering of prices, they
save by not having to change money when travelling within the union, by being a
ble to compare prices more readily, and by the reduced cost of transferring mone
y across borders. However, there are conditions for a common currency: the inten
sity of intra-regional trade and the convergence of macroeconomic conditions. Su
bstantial intra-ASEAN trade and economic integration is an incentive for a monet
ary union. Intra-ASEAN trade is growing, partly as a result of the ASEAN Free Tr
ade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN Economic Community.
However, some obstacles remain. ASEAN currently trades more with other countries
(80%) than among its member countries (20%). Therefore, ASEAN economies are mor
e concerned about currency stability against major international currencies, lik
e the US dollar. On macroeconomic conditions, ASEAN member countries have differ
ent levels of economic development, capacity, and priorities that translate into
different levels of interest and readiness. Monetary integration however implie
s less control over national monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate the economy
. Therefore, greater convergence in macroeconomic conditions is being enacted to
improve conditions and confidence in a common currency.[81] On the other hand,
there are also constraints on the adoption of one currency, such as the followin
g: diversity in the level of economic development across countries, weaknesses i
n the financial sectors of many countries, inadequacy of regional-level resource
pooling mechanisms and institutions required for forming and managing a currenc
y union, and lack of political preconditions for monetary co-operation and a com
mon currency.[82]
Free-trade agreements[edit]
ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with China (expecting bilateral trade
of $500 billion by 2015),[83] Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.[8
4] ASEAN-India bilateral trade crossed the US$70 billion target in 2012 (target
was to reach the level only by 2015).[citation needed] The agreement with People
's Republic of China created the ASEAN China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which went i
nto full effect on 1 January 2010. In addition, ASEAN is currently negotiating a
free trade agreement with the European Union.[84] The Republic of China (Taiwan
) has also expressed interest in an agreement with ASEAN but needs to overcome d
iplomatic objections from China.[85]
Treaty of Amity & Cooperation
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in South-East Asia, signed at the Firs
t ASEAN Summit on 24 February 1976, declared that in their relations with one an
other, the High Contracting Parties should be guided by the following fundamenta
l principles:
Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrit
y, and national identity of all nation;
The right of every state to lead its national existence free from external inter
ference, subversion or coercion;
Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
Effective co-operation among themselves.
From CMI to AMRO[edit]
Due to the Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998, and the long and difficult ne
gotiations with the International Monetary Fund, ASEAN+3 agreed to set up a main
ly bilateral currency swap scheme known as the 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI)
in anticipation of another financial crisis in the future. In 2006 they agreed t
o meld the CMI with multilateralisation and call it CMIM. On 3 May 2009, they ag
reed to make a currency pool consisting of contributions: US$38.4 billion each b
y China and Japan, US$19.2 billion by South Korea, and US$24 billion from all AS
EAN members, totalling US$120 billion.[86] A key component has also been added r
ecently, with the establishment of a surveillance unit.[87]
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (AMRO) started operations in Singa
pore in May 2011.[88] It performs a key regional surveillance function of the US
$120 billion Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) currency swap faci
Some analysts think that the sum of US$120 billion is relatively small (covering
only about 20% of needs), so co-ordination or help from the IMF is still needed
.[90] On 3 May 2012, ASEAN+3 finance ministers agreed to double emergency reserv
e funds to US$240 billion.[91]
Single aviation market[edit]
The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM), is the region's aviation policy ge
ared towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeas
t Asia. The aviation policy was proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Grou
p, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and endorsed by th
e ASEAN Transport Ministers.[92] The ASEAN-SAM is expected to liberalise air tra
vel between member-states in the ASEAN region, allowing ASEAN airlines to benefi
t directly from the growth in air travel, and also free up tourism, trade, inves
tment, and service flows between member states.[92][93] Since 1 December 2008, r
estrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities o
f member states for air passenger services have been removed,[94] while from 1 J
anuary 2009, full liberalisation of air freight services in the region took effe
ct.[92][93] On 1 January 2011, full liberalisation on fifth freedom traffic righ
ts between all capital cities took effect.[95] The ASEAN Single Aviation Market
policy supersedes existing unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral air services
agreements among member states which are inconsistent with its provisions.
With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, i
ntra-ASEAN travel has boomed, a sign that endeavours to form an ASEAN community
may bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47% or 34 million out of 73 million to
urists in ASEAN member-states were from other ASEAN countries.[96]
ASEAN co-operation in tourism was formalised in 1976, following formation of the
Sub-Committee on Tourism (SCOT) under the ASEAN Committee on Trade and Tourism.
The 1st ASEAN Tourism Forum was held on 18 26 October 1981 in Kuala Lumpur. In 19
86, ASEAN Promotional Chapters for Tourism (APCT) were established in Hong Kong,
West Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and North Ameri
Tourism has been one of the key growth sectors in ASEAN and has proven resilient
amid global economic challenges. The wide array of tourist attractions across t
he region drew 81 million tourists to ASEAN in 2011, up by 30% compared to 62 mi
llion tourists in 2007. As of 2012, tourism was estimated to account for 4.6% of
ASEAN GDP 10.9% when taking into account all indirect contributions. It directly
employed 9.3 million people, or 3.2% of total employment, and indirectly support
ed some 25 million jobs.[98] In addition, the sector accounted for an estimated
8% of total capital investment in the region.[99]
In January 2012, ASEAN tourism ministers called for the development of a marketi
ng strategy. The strategy represents the consensus of ASEAN National Tourism Org
anisations (NTOs) on marketing directions for ASEAN moving forward to 2015.[100]
In the 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) report, Singapore pl
aced 1st, Malaysia placed 8th, Thailand placed 9th, Indonesia placed 12th, Brune
i placed 13th, Vietnam placed 16th, Philippines placed 17th, and Cambodia placed
20th as the top destinations of travellers in the Asia Pacific region.[101]
Foreign affairs and summits[edit]
ASEAN identity[edit]
Royal Thai Embassy, Helsinki, flying its own national flag as well as ASEAN's fl
ASEAN's planned integration of its ten member nations has challenged its citizen
s to embrace a regional identity. The call for ASEAN identity delivers a challen
ge to construct dynamic institutions and foster sufficient amounts of social cap
ital. The underlying assumption is that the creation of a regional identity is o
f special interest to ASEAN and the intent of the 2020 Vision policy document wa
s to reassert the belief in a regional framework designed as an action plan rela
ted to human development and civic empowerment. Accordingly, these assumptions w
ill be the basis for recommendations and strategies in developing a participator
y regional identity.[102]
ASEAN Summit[edit]
Main article: ASEAN Summit
A billboard in Jakarta welcoming delegates for the 2011 ASEAN Summit
The organisation holds meetings, known as ASEAN Summits, where heads of governme
nt of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to con
duct other meetings with countries outside the bloc to promote external relation
The first ASEAN summit was held in Bali in 1976. Its third meeting was in Manila
in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet eve
ry five years.[103] The fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the l
eaders decided to meet more frequently, every three years.[103] In 2001, it was
decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member n
ations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the c
ase of Burma which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from
the United States and the European Union.[104]
In December 2008, the ASEAN Charter came into force and with it, the ASEAN Summi
t will be held twice a year.
The formal summit meets for three days. The typical agenda is as follows:
Leaders of member states would hold an internal organisation meeting.
Leaders of member states hold a conference together with foreign ministers of th
e ASEAN Regional Forum.
A meeting, known as ASEAN Plus Three, is set for leaders of three dialogue partn
ers (People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea)
A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is with the two dialogue partners (Austr
alia and New Zealand).[105]
East Asia Summit[edit]
Main article: East Asia Summit
Participants of the East Asia Summit
ASEAN Plus Three
Additional members
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of
eighteen countries in the East Asian region, with ASEAN in a leadership position
. Membership was initially all ten members of ASEAN plus China, Japan, South Kor
ea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, but was expanded to include the United St
ates and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011.
The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005, and subsequent me
etings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders' Meeting. The summit has di
scussed issues including trade, energy, and security and the summit has a role i
n regional community building.
[show]East Asia Summits
Commemorative summit[edit]
Main article: ASEAN Free Trade Area
A commemorative summit is a summit hosted by a non-ASEAN country to mark a miles
tone anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and the host co
untry. The host country invites the heads of government of ASEAN member countrie
s to discuss future co-operation and partnership.
[show]Commemorative Summits
Regional Forum[edit]
ASEAN full members
ASEAN observers
ASEAN Plus Three
East Asia Summit
ASEAN Regional Forum
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral, dialogue in
the Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it consists of twenty-seven participan
ts. ARF's objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and to promote con
fidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region.[110] The ARF met for th
e first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are: all ASEAN members
, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, North
Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, E
ast Timor, the United States, and Sri Lanka.[111]
Taiwan has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regardin
g the Taiwan Strait are neither discussed at ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF
Chairman's Statements.
Other meetings[edit]
Aside from the ones above, other regular meetings are also held.[12] These inclu
de the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting[112] as well as other smaller committees
.[113] Meetings focus mostly on specific topics, such as defence or the environm
ent,[114] and are attended by ministers, instead of heads of government.
The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea,
and is held primarily during each ASEAN Summit. Until now, China, Japan, and Sou
th Korea have not yet formed a Free Trade Area (FTA); the meeting about FTA amon
g them will be held at end of 2012.[115]
The Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 w
ith the intention of strengthening co-operation between the countries of Europe
and Asia, especially members of the European Union and ASEAN in particular.[116]
ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the forty-five ASEM partners.
It also appoints a representative to sit on the governing board of Asia-Europe F
oundation (ASEF), a socio-cultural organisation associated with the meeting.
The ASEAN US Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the
President of the US.
The ASEAN Russia Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and
the President of Russia.
The ASEAN India Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and t
he Prime Minister of India.
Mass media[edit]
ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI)[edit]
ASEAN member states promote co-operation in information to help build an ASEAN i
dentity. One of the main bodies in ASEAN co-operation in information is the ASEA
N Committee on Culture and Information (COCI). Established in 1978, its mission
is to promote effective co-operation in the fields of information, as well as cu
lture, through its various projects and activities. The COCI includes representa
tives from national institutions like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministrie
s of Culture and Information, national radio and television networks, museums, a
rchives and libraries, among others. Together, they meet once a year to formulat
e and agree on projects to fulfil their mission.[117]
ASEAN Media Cooperation[edit]
ASEAN Media Cooperation (AMC) sets digital television standards and policies in
preparation for broadcasters to transition from analogue to digital broadcasting
. This collaboration was conceptualised during the 11th ASEAN Ministers Responsi
ble for Information (AMRI) Conference in Malaysia on 1 March 2012 where a consen
sus declared that both new and traditional media were keys to connecting ASEAN p
eoples and bridging cultural gaps in the region.[118]
Several key initiatives under the AMC include:[119]
The ASEAN Media Portal[120] was launched 16 November 2007. The portal aims to pr
ovide a one-stop site that contains documentaries, games, music videos, and mult
imedia clips on the culture, arts, and heritage of the ASEAN countries to showca
se ASEAN culture and the capabilities of its media industry.
The ASEAN NewsMaker Project, an initiative launched in 2009, trains students and
teachers to produce informational video clips about their countries. The projec
t was initiated by Singapore. Students trained in NewsMaker software, video prod
uction, together with developing narrative storytelling skills. Dr Soeung Rathch
avy, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community noted
that: "Raising ASEAN awareness amongst the youth is part and parcel of our effor
ts to build the ASEAN Community by 2015. Using ICT and the media, our youths in
the region will get to know ASEAN better, deepening their understanding and appr
eciation of the cultures, social traditions and values in ASEAN."[121]
The ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting, is an annual forum for ASEAN members to
set digital television (DTV) standards and policies, and to discuss progress in
the implementation of the blueprint from analogue to digital TV broadcasting by
2020. During the 11th ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting[122] members updated th
e status on DTV implementation and agreed to inform ASEAN members on the Guideli
nes for ASEAN Digital Switchover.[123] An issue was raised around the availabili
ty and affordability of set-top boxes (STB), thus ASEAN members were asked to ma
ke policies to determine funding for STBs, methods of allocation, subsidies and
rebates, and other methods for the allocation of STBs. It was also agreed in the
meeting to form a task force to develop STB specifications for DVB-T2 to ensure
ASEAN Community 2015[edit]
For nearly two decades, the ASEAN was composed of only five countries, its 8 Aug
ust 1967 founders: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand
. Other southeast Asian countries joined at different times: Brunei (1984), Viet
nam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997), and Cambodia (1999).
Beginning in 1997, heads of each member state adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 duri
ng ASEAN's 30th anniversary meeting held in Kuala Lumpur. This vision, as a mean
s for the realisation of a single ASEAN community, sees Southeast Asia becoming
a group of nations which are: "outward looking, living in peace, stability and p
ropsperity".[124] Included in ASEAN Vision 2020 were provisions on: peace and st
ability, being nuclear-free, closer economic integration, human development, sus
tainable development, cultural heritage, being drug-free, environment, among oth
ers. The Vision also aimed to: "see an outward-looking ASEAN playing a pivotal r
ole in the international fora, and advancing ASEAN's common interests".[125] Suc
h vision was formalised and made comprehensive through the Bali Concord II in 20
03. Three major pillars of a single ASEAN community were originally established:
(1) ASEAN Security Community, (2) ASEAN Economic Community and (3) ASEAN Socio-
Cultural Community.[126] The ASEAN Community, initially planned to commence by 2
020, was accelerated to begin by 31 December 2015.[127] This was decided upon by
heads of member states during the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu in 2007.[128]
On 20 November 2007, the ASEAN Charter was signed in Singapore, forty years afte
r the founding of ASEAN. Also concurrently signed was the ASEAN Economic Communi
ty (AEC) Blueprint. This was to establish stronger rules-based norms and values
shared among all member states. The charter was later ratified in 2008.[129] To
full embody the three Bali Concord II pillars as part of the 2015 integration, b
lueprints for ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural
Community (ASCC) were subsequently adopted in 2009 in Cha-Am, Thailand.[130]
ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint[edit]
Ambox current red.svg
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent e
vents or newly available information. (January 2016)
ASEAN leaders sign the declaration of the ASEAN Economic Community during the 27
th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, 2015
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is now generally referred to as "AEC 2015" si
nce its original implementation date was brought forward from 2020 to 31 Decembe
r 2015. As one of the three pillars of the ASEAN, it aims to "implement economic
integration initiatives" to create a single market across ASEAN nations. On 20
November 2007, during the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore, its blueprint, which s
erves as a master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community
2015, was adopted.[131]
The ASEAN Economic Community is the goal of regional economic integration by 201
5. Its characteristics include: (1) a single market and production base, (2) a h
ighly competitive economic region, (3) a region of fair economic development, an
d (4) a region fully integrated into the global economy. The areas of co-operati
on include human resources development; recognition of professional qualificatio
ns; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing
measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development
of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the re
gion to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement. Thr
ough the free movement of skilled labour, goods, services and investment, ASEAN
will rise globally as one market with each member gaining from each other's stre
ngths, thus increasing its competitiveness and opportunities for development.[13
The AEC is the embodiment of the ASEAN's vision of: "...a stable, prosperous and
highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods
, services, investment and a freer flow of capital, equitable economic developme
nt and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities".[133]
The formulation of an AEC Blueprint established the members' commitment to a com
mon goal as well as ensuring compliance with stated objectives and timelines. Th
e AEC Blueprint lays out the overall vision as well as the goals, implementing p
lans and strategies (actions), as well as the strategic schedule (timeline) for
achieving the establishment of the AEC by end-2015.[133]
ASEAN will officially declare the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community b
y end-December 2015. For ASEAN economies and citizens, it will be business as us
ual because the key agreements and regulations that will govern the business and
economic relationships under the AEC are already in place and operational.[133]
Reinforcing ASEAN relations[edit]
The conduct of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders Conf
erence on 22 26 October 2014 in Davao City, Philippines, signified the renewed com
mitment of the four member countries namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and th
e Philippines (BIMP) to further the cause of the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA) c
o-operation as a model for the 2015 ASEAN Integration. During the Conference, De
puty Secretary General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community, Dr. Lim Hong H
in, said that the convergence of the BIMP-EAGA and Indonesia Malaysia Thailand G
rowth Triangle (IMT-GT) will amplify the subregions full potential and maximise i
ts initial gain towards greater engagement in the larger ASEAN community. The vi
sion of the BIMP-EAGA initiative is to realise socially acceptable and sustainab
le economic development, and the full participation of the subregion in the ASEA
N development process. BIMP-EAGA was proposed in 1992 by then Philippine Preside
nt Fidel V. Ramos as a major economic initiative in ASEAN. The idea of expanding
the economic co-operation among the border areas of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesi
a, Malaysia, and the Philippines was supported by the leaders of the three count
ries which eventually led to the creation of BIMP-EAGA launched on 24 March 1994
in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. The subregion covers a land-area of 1.54
million square kilometres and a population of 70 million.[134]
The improved regional-subregional collaborations will spur trade, investment, an
d small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development through enhanced backward
linkages, production system, and forward linkages. The convergence will also fac
ilitate the completion of region wide infrastructure projects such as the Sumatr
a Port Development, Melaka-Pekan Baru Power Interconnection, and Sumatra Toll Ro
ads Project. The subregions convergence will create synergy in transport facilita
tion by forging the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Cross Border Trade Arrangemen
t and BIMP-EAGA Cross Border Arrangement, promote clustering and branding throug
h collaborative tourism promotion, tailored agro-based industries strategies, an
d addressing environmental issues. The greater co-ordination among the subregion
s, maximising synergy with the full participation of the stakeholders will ensur
e equitable economic benefits of the ASEAN countries facing the challenge of glo
2020 ASEAN Banking Integration Framework[edit]
As the flow of goods, services, investment, capital, and skilled labour between
countries is liberalised with the ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, the need a
rises for ASEAN banking institutions to accommodate and expand their services to
a greater intra-ASEAN market. While the ASEAN financial integration is not goin
g to take effect until 2020, experts from the financial services industry have a
lready forecast a shaky economic transition, especially for smaller players in t
he banking and financial services industry.
Two separate reports by Standard & Poor's entitled ASEAN Financial Integration:
The Long Road to Bank Consolidation and The Philippines Banking System: The Good,
the Bad and the Ambivalent respectively, outline the challenges ASEAN financial
institutions are facing as they prepare for the 2020 banking integration. The P
hilippines, with its overcrowded banking sector, for example, is among the ASEAN
-member countries who are forecast to feel the most pressure as the integration
welcomes tighter competition with the entry of bigger, more established foreign
banks.[136] To lessen the impact of this consolidation, countries with banking s
ectors considered smaller by global standards must expand regionally. S&P in a f
ollow up report recently cited the Philippines for: "shoring up its network base
s and building up capital ahead of the banking integration playing defence and s
trengthening their domestic networks".[136]
Roadmap for ASEAN financial integration[edit]
The Roadmap for the Integration of ASEAN in Finance is the latest regional initi
ative, which aims to strengthen regional self-help and support mechanisms. The i
mplementation of the roadmap will contribute to the realisation of the ASEAN Eco
nomic Community that was launched by the ASEAN leaders in October 2003 in Bali.
The AEC is the end-goal of economic integration as outlined in the ASEAN Vision
2020 and the Bali Concord II to establish a single market and production base, c
haracterised by the free movement of goods, services, investment, and a freer fl
ow of capital. The AEC will also facilitate the movement of business professiona
ls, skilled labour, and talent within the region. As in the EU, adoption of an A
SEAN common currency, when conditions are ripe, could be the final stage of the
ASEAN Economic Community. Under the roadmap, approaches and milestones have been
identified in areas deemed crucial to financial and monetary integration, namel
y: (a) capital market development, (b) capital account liberalisation, (c) finan
cial services liberalisation, and (d) ASEAN currency co-operation. Capital marke
t development entails promoting institutional capacity, including the legal and
regulatory framework, as well as the facilitation of greater cross-border collab
oration, linkages, and harmonisation between capital markets in the region. Orde
rly capital account liberalisation will be promoted with adequate safeguards aga
inst volatility and systemic risks. To expedite the process of financial service
s liberalisation, ASEAN has agreed on a positive list modality and adopted miles
tones to facilitate negotiations. Currency co-operation would involve exploratio
n of possible currency arrangements, including an ASEAN currency payment system
for trade in local goods to reduce the demand for US dollars and to help promote
stability of regional currencies, such as by settling intra-ASEAN trade using r
egional currencies.[81]
While in the offing of an ASEAN common currency, the leaders of the member-state
s of ASEAN agreed in November 1999 to create the establishment of currency swaps
, and repurchase agreements, as a credit line against future financial shocks. I
n May 2000, the finance minister of the ASEAN agreed through the "Chiang Mai Ini
tiative" to plan for closer monetary and financial co-operation.[137] The "Chian
g Mai Initiative" or CMI, named after the City of Chiang Mai in Thailand, has tw
o components: an expanded ASEAN Swap Arrangement, and a network of bilateral swa
p arrangements among ASEAN countries, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. T
he ASEAN Swap Arrangement or ASA preceded the regional financial crisis. ASA was
originally established by the ASEAN central bank and monetary authorities of th
e five founding members of ASEAN with a view to help countries meet temporary li
quidity problems. An expanded ASA now includes all ten ASEAN countries with an e
xpanded facility of US$1 billion. In recognition of the economic interdependence
of East Asia, which has a combined foreign exchange reserves amounting to about
US$1 trillion, a network of bilateral swap arrangements and repurchase agreemen
ts among ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea has been agreed
upon. The supplementary facility aims to provide temporary financing for member
s which may be in balance-of-payments difficulties. In 200, 16 bilateral swap ar
rangements (BSAs) have been successfully concluded with a combined amount of abo
ut US$35.5 billion.[138] The original CMI was signed on 9 December 2009 which to
ok effect on 20 March 2014, while the amended version, the multilateralisation o
f CMI (CMIM), was on 17 July 2014. CMIM is a multilateral currency swap arrangem
ent with a total size of US$240 billion, governed by a single contractual agreem
ent, while the CMI is a network of bilateral swap arrangements among the "Plus T
hree" and ASEAN countries' authorities. In addition, an independent regional sur
veillance unit called the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) was estab
lished to monitor and analyse regional economies, and to support the CMIM decisi
on-making process.[138] The amendments will effectively allow access of the ASEA
N+3 member countries and Hong Kong to an enhanced CMIM package, which includes,
among others, the doubling of the fund size from US$120 billion to US$240 billio
n, an increase in the level of access not linked to an International Monetary Fu
nd program from 20% 30%, and the introduction of a crisis prevention facility. The
se amendments are expected to fortify CMIM as the region's financial safety net
in the event of any potential or actual liquidity difficulty.[139]
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) will serve as the independent r
egional surveillance unit of the CMIM. The establishment of AMRO will ensure tim
ely monitoring and analysis of the ASEAN+3 economies, which will in turn aid in
the early detection of risks, swift implementation of remedial actions, and effe
ctive decision-making of the CMIM. In particular, the AMRO will, during peace ti
me, conduct annual consultations with individual member economies and, on this b
asis, prepare quarterly consolidated reports on the macroeconomic assessment of
the ASEAN+3 region and individual member countries. On the other hand, the AMRO
will, during crisis time, prepare recommendations on any swap request based on i
ts macroeconomic analysis of the swap requesting member and monitor the use and
impact of funds once any swap request is approved. AMRO was officially incorpora
ted as a company limited by guarantee in Singapore on 20 April 2011 and its offi
ce is at the Monetary Authority of Singapore complex in Singapore. Governance of
AMRO is being exercised by the Executive Committee (EC) and its operational dir
ection by the Advisory Panel (AP). AMRO is currently headed by Dr Yoichi Nemoto
of Japan, who is serving his second 2-year term until 26 May 2016.[138] Stabilit
y in the financial system is a precondition to maintain the momentum of ASEAN ec
onomic integration. In turn, the more ASEAN economies become integrated, the mor
e feasible it is to adopt an ASEAN single currency, which is expected to reinfor
ce even further stability and integration in Southeast Asia.[81]
Food security[edit]
ASEAN member nations recognise the importance of strengthening food security to
maintain stability and prosperity in the region. The World Food Summit of 1996 d
efined food security as existing: "when all people at all times have access to s
ufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life".[140]
Part of the aim for ASEAN integration is to achieve food security collectively v
ia trade in rice and maize. Trade facilitation measures and the harmonisation/eq
uivalency of food regulation and control standards will reduce the cost of trade
in food products. While specialisation and revealed comparative and competitive
indices point to complementarities between trade patterns among the ASEAN membe
r countries, intra-ASEAN trade in agriculture is quite small. However, integrati
on could address this problem.[141] The MARKET project will provide flexible and
demand-driven support to the ASEAN Secretariat, while bringing more private-sec
tor and civil-society input into regional agriculture policy dialogue. By buildi
ng an environment that reduces barriers to trade, ASEAN trade will increase, the
reby decreasing the risk of another food price crisis.[142]
As ASEAN moves towards an integrated community in 2015 and beyond, food security
should be an integral part of the ASEAN community building agenda and deserves
more attention.[143]
Reception and criticisms[edit]
ASEAN's integration plan has raised concerns. In particular, meeting the 2015 de
adline has been questioned. Business and economy experts who attended the Lippo-
UPH Dialogue in Naypyidaw cited unresolved issues relating to aviation, agricult
ure, and human resources.[144] Some panellists, among them, Kishore Mahbubani, w
arned against high expectations at the onset. He stated:
Please do not expect a big bang event in 2015 where everything is going to happe
n overnight when the ASEAN Economic Community comes into being. We've made progr
ess in some areas and unfortunately regressed in some areas.[145]
Some panellists enumerated other matters to be dealt with for a successful launc
h. Among them were the communications issues involving the 600 million citizens
living in the region, creating a heightened level of understanding in the busine
ss sector, current visa arrangements, demand for specific skills, banking connec
tions, and economic differences between member-nations. Former Philippine Nation
al Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Romulo A. Virola, sai
d in 2012 that the Philippines does not appear to be ready to benefit from ASEAN
integration due to its "wobbly" economic performance compared to other ASEAN me
mber countries. According to Virola, the Philippines continues to lag behind in
terms of employment rate, tourism, life expectancy, and cellular subscriptions.[
146] Nestor Tan, head of BDO Unibank Inc., said that while some businesses see t
he Asian Economic Blueprint (AEC) as an opportunity, the integration would be mo
re of a threat to local firms. Tan added that protecting the Philippines' agricu
ltural and financial services sectors, as well as the labour sector, would be ne
cessary for the implementation of AEC by 2015.[147] Standard & Poor's also belie
ved that banks in the Philippines are not yet prepared for the tougher competiti
on that would result from the integration of Southeast Asian economies. In one o
f its latest publications, S&P said banks in the country, although profitable an
d stable, operate on a much smaller scale than their counterparts in the region.
The US Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the widespread concern that the much-
anticipated AEC could not be launched by the end-2015 deadline.[148] In January
2014, former ASEAN Secretary-General Rodolfo C. Severino, wrote: "while ASEAN sh
ould not be condemned for its members' failure to make good on their commitments
, any failure to deliver will likely lead to a loss of credibility and could mea
n that member countries fall further behind in the global competition for export
markets and foreign direct investment (FDI)".[149] This is not the first time t
hat AEC faces a probable delay. In 2012, the commencement of the AEC was postpon
ed to 31 December 2015 from the original plan of 1 January 2015. Despite ASEAN S
ecretary-General Surin Pitsuwan's firm reassurance that: "[t]here will be no mor
e delays and that all ten ASEAN countries will participate", even the most ferve
nt proponents of AEC are beginning to worry about the increasingly diminishing c
hance of delivering AEC on time as December 2015 nears.[150]
An article published by Vietnam News echoed some of the challenges and opportuni
ties that Vietnam faces in preparation for the AEC. The article said that the de
puty head of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Tra
de, Tran Thanh Hai, was concerned about local enterprises' lack of knowledge of
the AEC. It was said that 80% of local enterprises surveyed acknowledged that th
ey have little information about the interests and challenges available for them
in the ASEAN market. The article also noted that the general secretary of the V
ietnam Steel Association, Chu Duc Khai, said that most the local steel making en
terprises lack information about doing business in the ASEAN market, they have n
ot had a chance to study the ASEAN market, and have only exported small amounts
of steel to ASEAN countries. Another challenge for Vietnam, the article cited, i
s the need to compete with other countries in the ASEAN market to export raw pro
ducts since the country had mainly exported raw products.[151]
The Asian Development Bank also has doubts about Cambodia's ability to meet the
AEC deadline in 2015. The leading economist of ADB, Jayant Menon, said that Camb
odia needs to speed up its customs reform and to press ahead with automating pro
cesses to reduce trade costs and minimise the opportunities for corruption and b
e ready for the implementation of its National Single Window by 2015.[152]
ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint[edit]
During the 14th ASEAN Summit held 26 February to 1 March 2009, the ASEAN heads o
f state/governments adopted the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint (AP
SC).[153] This document is aimed at creating a robust political-security environ
ment within ASEAN, with programs and activities outlined to establish the APSC b
y 2015. The document is based on the principles and purposes of the ASEAN charte
r, the ASEAN Security Community Plan of Action, the Vientiane Action Programme,
and other relevant decisions.
In essence, the APSC aims to create a community that portrays the following char
acteristics: a rules-based community of shared values and norms; a cohesive, pea
ceful, stable and resilient region with a shared responsibility toward comprehen
sive security; and a dynamic and outward-looking region in an increasingly integ
rated and interdependent world.
ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration[edit]
The ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC) was proposed at the 4th ASEAN De
fence Ministers' Meeting on 11 May 2010 in Hanoi.[154] The emergence of this con
cept was triggered by the fact that the majority of the ASEAN member states are
regular importers of defence and security equipment. One of the purposes of this
concept is to reduce defence imports from non-ASEAN countries by half (i.e., fr
om US$25 billion down to US$12.5 billion a year) and to further develop the defe
nce industry in the region.[155]
The concept was formally adopted during the 5th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting
(ADMM) on 19 May 2011, in Jakarta, Indonesia,[156] in line with the ADMM agreem
ent to enhance security co-operation in the following areas: maritime security,
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism, and military med
icine. Its goal points toward actions that will enhance security in each of the
ASEAN member states.[157][158]
The main focus of the concept is to industrially and technologically boost the s
ecurity capability of the ASEAN, consistent with the principles of flexibility a
nd non-binding and voluntary participation among the ASEAN member states.[159][1
60] The concept revolves around education and capability building programmes to
develop the skills and capabilities of manpower, sharing in the production of ca
pital for defence equipment, components, and spares, and the provision of repair
and maintenance services to address all the defence and security needs of each
ASEAN country. It also aims to develop the defence trade in the region by encour
aging ASEAN member states to participate in the intra-ASEAN defence trade and su
pport trade shows and exhibitions.[154]
ADIC aims to establish a strong defence industry relying on the local capabiliti
es of each ASEAN member state, and limit annual procurement from original equipm
ent manufacturers (OEMs) outside the region.[154] Countries like the USA, German
y, Russia, France, Italy, UK, China, South Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands ar
e among the major suppliers to ASEAN.[161]
Military expenditures in ASEAN reached US$35.5 billion in 2013 (excluding Brunei
and Myanmar), which surpassed the 2004 figure (US$14.4 billion) by 147% and is
expected to exceed US$40 billion by 2016.[162] Factors affecting the increase in
military budget are economic growth, ageing equipment, and the plan to strength
en the establishment of the defence industry in the region.[163]
There are challenges to the defence collaboration effort in the ASEAN; the unequ
al level of capabilities among ASEAN member states in the field of defence indus
try, and the lack of established defence trade among them.[157] Prior to the ado
ption of the ADIC concept, the status of the defence industry base in each of th
e ASEAN member states was at disparate level.[157] Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesi
a, and Thailand are among the top ASEAN member states with an established defenc
e industry base. But, even these four countries possess different levels of capa
city, while the remaining member states like the Philippines, Lao PDR, Vietnam,
Myanmar, and Cambodia have yet to develop and enhance their capabilities in this
Of the ten ASEAN member states, Singapore and Indonesia are among the most compe
titive players in the defence industry. Indonesia is the only ASEAN member state
recognised as one of the top 100 global defence suppliers from 2010-2013.[164][
165] ASEAN member states purchase virtually no defence products from within ASEA
N. Singapore purchases defence products from Germany, France, and Israel, but no
ne from any of the ASEAN member states. Malaysia purchased only 0.49% from ASEAN
, Indonesia 0.1%, and Thailand 8.02%.[157]
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint[edit]
It was also during the 14th ASEAN Summit that the member governments of ASEAN ad
opted the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint (ASCC).[166] The ASCC envisio
ns an: "ASEAN Community that is people-centered and socially responsible with a
view to achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the nations and peoples of
ASEAN by forging a common identity and building a caring and sharing society wh
ich is inclusive and harmonious where the well-being, livelihood, and welfare of
the peoples are enhanced". Among its focus areas are: human development, social
welfare and protection, social justice and rights, ensuring environmental susta
inability, building the ASEAN identity, and narrowing the development gap.
The AEC Scorecard[edit]
To track the progress of the AEC, the AEC Scorecard, a compliance tool was devel
oped based on the EU Internal Market Scorecard, and was adopted by ASEAN.[150] T
his regional economic scorecard is the only scorecard in effect[167] and is expe
cted to serve as an unbiased assessment tool to measure the extent of integratio
n among its members, and the economic health of the region. It is expected to pr
ovide relevant information about regional priorities and in this way foster prod
uctive, inclusive, and sustainable growth. Moreover, scores create incentives fo
r improvement by highlighting what is working and what is not.[168]
The AEC Scorecard is also a compliance tool that makes it possible to monitor th
e implementation of ASEAN agreements, and the achievement of milestones indicate
d in the AEC Strategic Schedule. The Scorecard outlines specific actions that mu
st be undertaken by ASEAN collectively, and by its member states individually, t
o establish an AEC by 2015.[168]
To date, two official scorecards have been published, one in 2010,[169] and the
other in 2012.[170] According to the AEC Scorecard 2012, the implementation rate
s of AEC's four primary objectives: (a) single market and production base; (b) c
ompetitive economic region; (c) equitable economic development; and (d) integrat
ion into the global economy were 65.9%, 67.9%, 66.7%, and 85.7%, respectively, w
ith 187 out of 277 measures being fully implemented by 2011.[150]
The AEC Scorecard is purely quantitative. It only examines whether an ASEAN memb
er state has performed the AEC task or not. The more "yes" answers, the higher t
he score.[167]
While Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have
eliminated 99.65% of their tariff lines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam h
ave decreased tariffs on 98.86% of their lines to the 0-5% tariff range in 2010,
and are projected to eliminate tariffs on these goods by 2015, with the ability
to do so for a few import duty lines until 2018.[171]
According to Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, ASEAN w
as already the seventh largest economy in the world, and the third largest in As
ia in 2013, estimated at US$2.3 trillion. A recent study by Deloitte Touche Tohm
atsu Limited has projected that five of the top fifteen manufacturing locations
in the world will be in ASEAN by 2018. Furthermore, by 2050, ASEAN is also expec
ted to be the fourth-largest economy in the world (after the European Union, the
US, and China).[171]
The AEC envisions the free flow of overseas labour. However, receiving countries
may require would-be workers to take licensing examinations in those countries
regardless of whether or not the worker has a professional license from their ho
me country.[172]
Singapore is the major ASEAN destination for skilled migrants from other ASEAN c
ountries, mostly from Malaysia and the Philippines. Total employment in Singapor
e doubled between 1992 and 2008 from 1.5 million to three million, and the numbe
r of foreign workers almost tripled, from fewer than 400,000 to almost 1.1 milli
on. High-skilled foreign talents (customer service, nursing, engineering, IT) ea
rn at least US$2,000 a month and with a credential (usually a college degree) re
ceive S Passes, employment passes, including an EP-1 for those earning more than
US$7,000 a month; EP-2 for those earning US$3,500 7,000 a month; and EP-3 for tho
se earning US$2,500 3,500 a month.[173]
In the recent years, Singapore has been slowly cutting down the number of foreig
n workers to challenge companies to upgrade their hiring criteria and offer more
jobs to local residents. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that
the Singapore policy of reducing the number of foreign workers could retard the
country's economic growth and lower its competitiveness.[174]
Narrowing the Development Gap[edit]
Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) is ASEAN's framework for addressing disparit
ies among, and within, member-states where pockets of underdevelopment exist. Un
der NDG, ASEAN has continued co-ordinating closely with other subregional co-ope
ration frameworks in the region (e.g., BIMP-EAGA, IMT-GT, GMS, Mekong programmes
), viewing them as "equal partners in the development of regional production and
distribution networks" in the AEC, and as a platform to "mainstream social deve
lopment issues in developing and implementing projects," in the context of the A
The six-year IAI Work Plans have been developed to assist the CLMV countries as
well as ASEAN's other sub-regions to ensure that the economic wheels of their ec
onomies move at an accelerated pace. IAI Work Plan I was implemented from 2002 t
o 2008, prior to the development of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-201
5). IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) supports the goals of the ASEAN Community and i
s composed of 182 prescribed actions, which includes studies, training programme
s, and policy implementation support, conducted through projects supported by AS
EAN-6 countries, and ASEAN's Dialogue partners and external parties. The IAI Wor
k Plan is patterned after and supports the key programme areas in the three ASEA
N Community Blueprints: ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint, ASEAN Econ
omic Community Blueprint, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.
The IAI Task Force, composed of representatives of the Committee of Permanent Re
presentatives and its working group from all ten ASEAN member states, is in char
ge of providing general advice and policy guidelines and directions in the desig
n and implementation of the IAI Work Plan. All ten ASEAN member-states are repre
sented in the IAI Task Force, with the task force chaired by representatives of
the four CLMV countries. Chairmanship is rotated annually in alphabetical order
by country name.
The ASEAN Secretariat, in particular through the IAI and NDG Division, supports
the implementation and management of the IAI Work Plan and coordinates activitie
s related to sub-regional frameworks. This includes servicing meetings, assistin
g in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and reporting of projects, reso
urce mobilisation, and overall operational co-ordination among various IAI&NDG-r
elated stakeholders. The Division works closely with the Dialogue Partners, and
international agencies, to develop strategies and programmes to assist in promot
ing and implementing IAI and NDG activities in ASEAN.[175]
ASEAN Communication Master Plan[edit]
ASEAN foreign ministers launched the ASEAN Communication Master Plan (ACPM) on 1
1 November 2014.[176]
The ACPM provides a framework for communicating the character, structure, and ov
erall vision of ASEAN and the ASEAN community to key audiences within the region
and globally.[177] The plan seeks to demonstrate the relevance and benefits of
the ASEAN through fact-based and compelling communications, recognising that the
ASEAN community is unique and different from other country integration models.
ASEAN security blueprint[edit]
The ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT) serves as a framework for regio
nal co-operation to counter, prevent, and suppress terrorism and deepen counter-
terrorism co-operation.[178]
ACCT was signed by ASEAN leaders in 2007. The sixth ASEAN member state, Brunei,
ratified it on 28 April 2011 and on 27 May 2011, the convention came into force.
Malaysia became the tenth member state to ratify ACCT on 11 January 2013.[178]
At the 23rd ASEAN Summit in November 2013, ASEAN Leaders took the decision to de
velop a Post-2015 Vision, and thus, got the High Level Task Force (HLTF) which c
onsists of ten high-level Representatives from all ASEAN Member States. The Visi
on was adopted at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malays
ia. ASEAN Community revises and renews its Vision in the term of ten years to pr
ovide a framework for continuous development and further integration of the comm
ASEAN Community Vision 2025
The terms in the Vision are divided into mainly four subcategories: ASEAN Politi
cal-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
, and Moving Forward. ASEAN Political-Security issues are covered under article
7 and 8 of the Vision. Article 7 generally states the overall aspiration of the
community aiming to achieve a united, inclusive and resilient community. It also
puts human and enviroenmental security at the center of its aspirations. Deepen
ing engagement with both internal Members and eternal parties are also stressed
to contribute the international peace, security and stability.[179]
The final part of the Vision, under Moving Forward subcategory, implies the acknow
ledgement of the weakness of the institution capacity to process and coordinate
ASEAN work. Strengthening ASEAN Secretariat and other ASEAN Organs and Bodies is
desired. There is also a call for greater level of ASEAN institutional presence
at the national, regional and international levels.
Haze over Borneo, 2006
Plastic waste dumping: A study based on 2010 data concluded that five ASEAN nati
ons are among the top ten (of 192 countries with ocean shorelines, Laos not amon
g them as it is landlocked) dumpers of plastic waste into the ocean. Indonesia w
as ranked the second worst polluter; the Philippines third; Vietnam fourth; Thai
land sixth; and Malaysia eighth.[180]
Threatened mammal species: ASEAN nations fared poorly in this World Bank study:
Indonesia was number one of 214 nations (1=worst, 214= best) on the world list o
f threatened mammals, with 184 species under threat. The remaining ASEAN nations
were ranked, Malaysia, 7; Thailand, 9; Vietnam, 12; Myanmar, 14; Laos, 15; the
Philippines, 19; Cambodia, 20; Brunei, 25; and Singapore, 93, of 214 countries.[
Threatened fish species: ASEAN member-state Indonesia ranked fifth of 215 nation
s (1=worst, 215=best) in fish species at risk; Thailand ranked 12; the Philippin
es, 18; Malaysia, 19; Vietnam, 20; Laos, 29; Cambodia, 51; Myanmar, 52; Singapor
e, 84; and Brunei, 175.[182]
Threatened (higher) plant species: The World Bank estimated in 2014 that, worldw
ide, 13,583 higher plant species are threatened. Of 215 nations, Malaysia ranked
number two of 215 (1=worst, 216=best) in number of species threatened (133 spec
ies). Indonesia ranked sixth; the Philippines, 16; Vietnam, 21; Thailand, 26; Br
unei, 33; Singapore, 53; Myanmar, 59; Cambodia, 74; and Laos, 75.[183]
Deforestation: Indonesia lost 17 million hectares of tree cover from 2001-2013,
the fifth largest loss of 203 nations. Malaysia ranked eighth (5 Mha loss); Myan
mar, 19 (2 Mha); Cambodia, 23 (1.5 Mha); Laos, 24 (1.4 Mha); Vietnam, 27 (1.3 Mh
a); Thailand, 29 (1.1 Mha); the Philippines, 39 (664 Kha); Brunei, 117 (18 Kha);
and Singapore, 155, (867 ha).[184]
At the turn of the 21st century, ASEAN began to discuss environmental agreements
. These included the signing of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollut
ion in 2002 as an attempt to control haze pollution in Southeast Asia.[185] Unfo
rtunately, this was unsuccessful due to the outbreaks of haze in 2005, 2006, 200
9, 2013, and 2015. As of 2015, thirteen years after signing the ASEAN Agreement
on Transboundary Haze Pollution, the situation with respect to the long term iss
ue of Southeast Asian haze has not been changed for 50% of the ASEAN member stat
es, and still remains as a crisis every two years during summer and fall.[186][1
Yet other serious issues like the dumping of trash from foreign nations such as
Japan and Canada to ASEAN has yet to be discussed. In 2015, tons of trash labell
ed as plastics for recycling, was shipped from Canada to Manila; an issue that h
as yet to be resolved.[189]
While high performing Asian economies and the six oldest ASEAN members have inve
sted heavily in public education at the primary and secondary levels, tertiary e
ducation has been left largely to the private sector.[190] Tertiary education in
Southeast Asia is, in general, relatively weak in terms of technological capaci
ty and integration such as in credit transfer schemes. Singapore is highly focus
ed on innovation while the rest of the region lags behind.[191] In most cases, u
niversities are focused on teaching and service to government rather than academ
ic research. Universities in Southeast Asia, both in terms of academic salaries
and research infrastructure (libraries, laboratories), tend to be poorly support
ed financially. Moreover, regional academic journals cater to their local audien
ces and respond less to international standards which makes universal or regiona
l benchmarking difficult.[192]
Governments have a vested interest in investing in education and other aspects o
f human capital infrastructure, especially rapidly developing nations such as th
ose within ASEAN. In the short run, investment spending directly supports aggreg
ate demand and growth. In the longer term, investments in physical infrastructur
e, productivity enhancements, and provision of education and health services det
ermine the potential for growth.[193]
Educational integration[edit]
To enhance regional co-operation in education, ASEAN education ministers have ag
reed four priorities for education: (1) Promoting ASEAN awareness among ASEAN ci
tizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education;
(3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthen
ing the ASEAN University Network.[194]
At the 11th ASEAN Summit in December 2005, ASEAN leaders set new directions for
regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN ed
ucation ministers to convene meetings on a regular basis. The annual ASEAN Educa
tion Ministers Meeting oversees ASEAN co-operation efforts on education at the m
inisterial level. With regard to implementation, programmes, and activities are
carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED). SOM-ED also man
ages co-operation on higher education through the ASEAN University Network (AUN)
ASEAN university network[edit]
Main article: ASEAN University Network
The ASEAN University Network (AUN) is a consortium of Southeast Asian tertiary i
nstitutions of which thirty currently belong as participating universities.[196]
Founded in November 1995 by eleven universities within the member states,[197]
the AUN was established to:[194]
Promote co-operation among ASEAN scholars, academics, and scientists in the regi
Develop academic and professional human resources in the region
Promote information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community
Enhance awareness of a regional identity and the sense of "ASEAN-ness" among mem
Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network Project[edit]
The Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-Net) Project,
was established as an autonomous sub-network of the ASEAN University Network (A
UN) in April 2001. SEED-Net is aimed at promoting human resource development in
engineering in ASEAN. The network consists of twenty-six member institutions sel
ected by higher education ministries of each ASEAN member state, and eleven supp
orting Japanese universities selected by the Japanese government. This network i
s mainly supported by the Japanese government through the Japan International Co
operation Agency (JICA) and partially supported by the ASEAN Foundation. SEED-Ne
t activities are implemented by the SEED-Net secretariat with the support of the
JICA Project for SEED-Net now based at Chulalongkorn University.
ASEAN Scholarship[edit]
The ASEAN Scholarship is a scholarship programme offered by Singapore to the nin
e other member states for secondary school, junior college, and university educa
tion. It covers accommodation, food, medical benefits and accident insurance, sc
hool fees, and examination fees. Scholarship recipients, who then perform well o
n the GCE Advanced Level Examination, may apply for ASEAN undergraduate scholars
hips, which are tailored specifically to undergraduate institutions in Singapore
and other ASEAN member countries.[198] Singapore has used this programme effect
ively to attract many of the best students from the ASEAN region over the past s
everal years, and scholars for the most part tend to remain in Singapore to purs
ue undergraduate studies through the ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship programme.[
Literacy rates[edit]
The table below shows literacy rates among 15- to 24-year-old youths from 10 ASE
AN member states as reported to the United Nations.[200]
Country Year (most recent) Adult (15+) Literacy Rate Adult Men
Adult Women Youth (15-24) Literacy Rate Youth Men Youth Women
Brunei 2009 95% 97% 94% 100% 100% 100%
Cambodia 2008 78% 85% 71% 87% 89% 86%
Indonesia 2008 92% 95% 89% 99% 100% 99%
Laos 2005 73% 82% 63% 84% 89% 79%
Malaysia 2015 96% 95% 94% 93% 95% 96%
Myanmar 2009 92% 95% 90% 96% 96% 95%
Philippines 2015 98% 97% 96% 98% 98[201]% 98%
Singapore 2009 95% 97% 92% 100% 100% 100%
Thailand 2005 94% 96% 92% 98% 98% 98%
Vietnam 2009 93% 95% 91% 97% 97% 96%
Culture and sport[edit]
The organisation hosts cultural activities in an attempt to further integrate th
e region. These include sports and educational activities as well as writing awa
rds. Examples of these include the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and the ASEAN O
utstanding Scientist and Technologist Award
Heritage parks[edit]
Main article: ASEAN Heritage Parks
ASEAN Heritage Parks aim to protect the region's natural treasures. There are no
w 37 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the Kina
balu National Park.[202]
Songs and music[edit]
The ASEAN Way, the official regional anthem of ASEAN. Music by Thailand Kittikhu
n Sodprasert and Sampow Triudom; lyrics by Thailand Payom Valaiphatchra.
ASEAN Song of Unity or ASEAN Hymn. Music by Philippines Ryan Cayabyab.
Let Us Move Ahead, an ASEAN song. Composed by Indonesia Candra Darusman.
ASEAN Rise, ASEAN's 40th Anniversary song. Music by Singapore Dick Lee; lyrics b
y Singapore Stefanie Sun.
ASEAN Spirit, ASEAN's 50th Anniversary song. Performed by Philippines Christian
Bautista; directed by Philippines Joaquin Pedro Valdes
ASEAN competitions[edit]
Southeast Asian Games
ASEAN University Games
ASEAN School Games
ASEAN Para Games
ASEAN Football Championship
2030 FIFA world cup bid[edit]
In January 2011 ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to bid to host the FIFA World Cup
in 2030 as a single entity.[203][204]
ASEAN in Sport Games[edit]
Main article: ASEAN in Sport Games
Youth Olympic Games[edit]
See also: Youth Olympic Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2010 Singapore Singapore
See also: Universiade
Year Host City Host Nation
2007 Bangkok Thailand
Asian Games[edit]
See also: Asian Games
Year Host City Host Nation
1954 Manila Philippines
1962 Jakarta Indonesia
1966 Bangkok Thailand
1970 Bangkok Thailand
1978 Bangkok Thailand
1998 Bangkok Thailand
2018 Jakarta and Palembang Indonesia
Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games[edit]
See also: Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2005 Bangkok Thailand
2009 Hanoi Vietnam
2009 Bangkok Thailand
Asian Beach Games[edit]
See also: Asian Beach Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2008 Bali Indonesia
2014 Phuket Thailand
2016 Danang Vietnam
Asian Youth Games[edit]
See also: Asian Youth Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2009 Singapore Singapore
2021 Surabaya Indonesia
Asian Para Games[edit]
See also: Asian Para Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2018 Jakarta Indonesia
Asian Youth Para Games[edit]
See also: Asian Youth Para Games
Year Host City Host Nation
2013 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
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Critics have charged that ASEAN is too soft in its approach to promoting human r
ights and democracy, particularly in junta-led Burma.[205] Some scholars think t
hat non-interference has hindered ASEAN efforts to handle the problems of Myanma
r, human rights abuse, and haze pollution in the area. Despite global outrage at
the military crack-down on unarmed protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to s
uspend Burma as a member, and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions.[206
] This has caused concern as the European Union has refused to conduct free trad
e negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons.[207] Some intern
ational observers view ASEAN as a "talk shop",[208] stating that the organisatio
n is: "big on words, but small on action".[209] "ASEAN policies have proven to b
e mostly rhetoric, rather than actual implementation", according to Pokpong Lawa
nsiri, a Bangkok-based independent analyst of ASEAN. "It has been noted that les
s than 50% of ASEAN agreements are actually implemented, while ASEAN holds more
than six hundred meetings annually".[210]
The head of the International Institute of Strategic Studies Asia, Tim Huxley, c
ites the diverse political systems present in the grouping, including many young
states, as a barrier to far-reaching co-operation outside the economic sphere.
He also asserts that, in the absence of an external threat to rally against with
the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has begun to be less successful at restraining i
ts members and resolving border disputes such as those between Burma and Thailan
d and Indonesia and Malaysia.[211] During the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, several
activist groups staged anti-globalisation protests.[212] According to the activ
ists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in t
he Philippines and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs.[213]
There are also several territorial dispute between ASEAN members that affecting
the unity between ASEAN nations such as the Cambodian Thai border dispute (Khao Ph
ra Wihan National Park) and the continuous claim over parts of Malaysia by certa
in politicians in the Philippines,[214] who also seems supporting militants raid
s over neighbouring country.[215][216][217] Beside that, the biggest criticism A
SEAN currently facing is the tensions caused by the South China Sea dispute, whi
ch involves the following four member states: the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia
, and Brunei.
The Philippines has been the most vocal against Chinese incursions in the disput
e, even bringing its case against China to a United Nations international tribun
al in the Hague, the first case filed by a nation against China. Vietnam, Japan,
and other Western countries[vague], especially the United States, have strongly
supported the Philippines. Vietnam, bordered both by land and sea with China, h
as also claims all the Spratly Islands. This dispute focuses on the Paracel Isla
nds, which China has occupied following the Battle of the Paracel Islands, in 19
74. Brunei, claiming only one reef, has been silent on the issue ever since it b
egan, mostly because of its trade with China. Malaysia, a nation with deep econo
mic ties to China, and a nation with billions in Chinese investment, has remaine
d neutral and 'China-friendly' over the conflict. This despite China claiming va
rious reefs and islands in the Spratlys as well as most of its territorial water
s and exclusive economic zones in Borneo.
ASEAN has yet to be united in the face of China's massive reclamation activities
and incursions in the South China Sea, especially when China is heavily support
ed by member states. Myanmar and Laos have been former 'satellite nations' of Ch
ina and are still heavily influenced by China. Thailand has yet to take a concre
te stand on the issue. Of the member states not yet involved in the dispute, Ind
onesia has supported the diplomatic approach of the Philippines many times.[vagu
e][citation needed] Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in its Natuna Islands ov
erlaps with the nine-dash line of China. Taiwan, also a claimant, has no concret
e relations with any ASEAN states, but has an informal office in the Philippines
. China has only accepted bilateral talks for solving the disputes. Vietnam, the
Philippines, China, Malaysia, and even Taiwan have been building their military
bases and there is great concern over the possibility of military conflict over
the issue.
Corruption remains a widespread issue across the member states, as tea money remai
ns an important requirement to grease business transactions and to receive publi
c services in Southeast Asia. Following the release of the Corruption Perception
s Index 2015 by Berlin-based graft watchdog Transparency International on 27 Jan
uary, its Asia Pacific director, Srirak Plipat, noted that: if there was one comm
on challenge to unite the Asia-Pacific region, it would be corruption , noting tha
t: from campaign pledges to media coverage to civil society forums, corruption do
minates the discussion. Yet despite all this talk, there s little sign of action. [2
During a general meeting in 2016, ASEAN failed to include a united statement whi
ch includes the International Court ruling on the South China Sea, filed and won
by the Philippines against China, due to Cambodia's rejection of the ruling bei
ng part of the official ASEAN statement.
At the last summit in China, two countries, Turkey and Mongolia have spoken out
to the chairman Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about their intentions to j
oin the association of countries. Duterte has stated that there is no problem wi
th this and might consider their inclusion to the association despite their geog
raphical locations. [219]
ASEAN has also failed to abolish human rights violations in West Papua, includin
g Irian Jaya, committed by Indonesian military officials and political authoriti
es. It is estimated that more than 500,000 indigenous Papuans have been killed i
n the name of Indonesian nationalism by Indonesian authorities. Native Papuans h
ave been lobbying for independence from Indonesia since the 1900's, however, the
y have not succeeded due to intense Indonesian army operations which resulted in
expansive genocide. Independence organizations in the western half of Papua voc
alized their concerns and aspiration to ASEAN, however, no action was made by th
e association. In 2014, all independence movement groups in West Papua and Irira
n Jaya finally formed under a single umbrella organization, the United Liberatio
n Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).[220] Due to the December 2016 Independence Ra
lly in West Papua[221], where more than 500 native Papuans were arrested by Indo
nesian officials, a bloc of nations swore to support the West Papua Independence
Movement in the entrance of 2017. Among these coalition of nations are Solomon
Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. The FLNKS, whi
ch represents New Caledonia Independence Movement, also supported the West Papua
independence movement.[222] The bloc of nations lambasted Indonesia's human rig
hts record in West Papua, which includes Irian Jaya, and the referendum conducte
d by Indonesia to control the region, where only 0.02% of the population were al
lowed by Indonesia to vote in a previous referendum marred by political threats
from Indonesian authorities. The ambassador of Guinea-Bissau implied that the mo
vement is the same with the movement made by Timor-Leste, and thus should be res
pected. The probable support base of the African leader is due to the support of
the late Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who backed West Papuan independen
ce from Indonesia. On the other hand, the ambassador of Papua New Guinea spoke a
gainst the coalition of nations due to ties with Indonesia, despite being ethnic
ally and geographically related to West Papua. All of the statements made were c
ommitted during the 2017 meeting of Council of Ministers of the 79-member Africa
Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP). The indigenous Maori people of New Zea
land also expressed their support for West Papua during the ULMWP's visit in the
country. The Aborigines of Australia also expressed their support for the movem
Current leaders of ASEAN[edit]
Brunei Brunei
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Cambodia Cambodia
Prime Minister Hun Sen

Indonesia Indonesia
President Joko Widodo

Laos Laos
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith

Malaysia Malaysia
Prime Minister Najib Razak

Myanmar Myanmar
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi

Philippines Philippines
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Singapore Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Thailand Thailand
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha

Vietnam Vietnam
Prime Minister Nguy?n Xun Phc
See also[edit]