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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Fact sheet released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State, July 21, 2000

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to promote political and economic cooperation and regional stability. The ASEAN Declaration, signed in 1976 by ASEAN leaders in Bali, and considered ASEAN's foundation document, formalized the principles of peace and cooperation to which ASEAN is dedicated. Brunei joined in 1984, shortly after its independence from the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia became members of ASEAN as well.

Also in 1976, ASEAN heads of state signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). The stated goal of the treaty is to foster a peaceful, cohesive region and to promote regional economic cooperation. In July 1998, ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed the Second Protocol to the TAC, which permits accession by non-Southeast Asian countries. ASEAN then invited, and has since been urging, the Dialogue Partners to accede to the treaty.

ASEAN has established ten "Dialogue Partner" relationships with other countries. The two sides meet at a Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC), which follows the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM). In 1994, ASEAN established the ASEAN Regional Forum, which focuses on regional security issues. This left the PMC to deal with international economic and political issues and transnational issues.

ASEAN Members (10): Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

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