What is ASEAN?


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ASEAN is the acronym of “Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” an Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO), which was formed August 8, 1967, after signing the ASEAN Declaration (also commonly known as Bangkok Declaration), in the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore were the instigators of ASEAN’s existence.

The very first goal of ASEAN was to form as solidarity to prevent domino effect of Vietnam’s communism into the region. Despite combating communism was the very legitimacy for ASEAN’s existence, regional economic cooperation and social and cultural development were latter admitted as the ASEAN’s agendas. ASEAN’s present secretariat-general is in Jakarta, Indonesia.

ASEAN’s Activities

ASEAN solves its regional problems via the Summit between government representatives, commonly Ministers of specified sectors. The Summit is held in every three years and the Summit venue is intercepted in alphabetical order; unfortunately Myanmar; as its alphabetical order was reached, was refused to be the host state, due to the fact of detaining the opposition leader: Aug San Suu Kyi in house-arrest. Since its creation, ASEAN summits have been held in Phnom Penh: the Capital of Cambodia, Bali, Singapore. However, annual meeting is solemnized to settle the regional urgent problem.

The formal summit lasts for three days, with the usual itinerary as follow: - ASEAN leaders hold an internal organizing meeting; - ASEAN leaders hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum (Please refer to ASEAN Regional Forum below); - Leaders of three ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely China, Japan and South Korea, hold a meeting with the ASEAN leaders; and - A separate meeting is set for leaders of two ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely Australia and New Zealand.

Not only the summit (formal meeting), ASEAN is also subject to informal meeting in each of two years between the formal meeting.

ASEAN’s External Relations

Constituted mostly of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDC), ASEAN can not single-mindedly strive within its region to meet its goals. This means that ASEAN has partnered with other individual countries and legal entities around the world to accelerate its goals.

ASEAN-Russia Summit

The ASEAN leaders formally meet the President of Russia to gain momentum to its purposes.

East Asia Summit

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asia annual forum between the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia and the region, and the ASEAN enjoys the leadership position.

Asia-Europe Meeting

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue, getting the EU (European Union) and the three ASEAN Dialogue Partners: China, Japan and South Korea together.

ASEAN Regional Forum

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is an informal multilateral dialogue of 25 members that seeks to address security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN Free Trade Area

The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries.