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ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

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 ASEAN Regional Forum is the outgrowth of the annual Ministerial-level dialogue between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Dialogue Partners. The inaugural ARF Ministerial Meeting -- held July 25, 1994, in Bangkok, Thailand -- established the ARF as the first region-wide multilateral forum for official consultations on Asia-Pacific security issues. Today, its membership spans the Asia-Pacific region. North Korea has been invited to join the ARF and attend the July 2000 Ministerial, bringing total ARF membership to 23.

The ARF meets annually (in July) at the Ministerial level and at the support group level during the intersessional period. Thailand, the 1999-2000 Chairman of ASEAN, is also the ARF Chairman during this period. Vietnam takes over as ASEAN and ARF Chair after the Ministerial meetings conclude at the end of July 2000.

The most active of the ARF support groups is the Intersessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG/CBM). ISG/CBM Co-Chairs for 1999-2000 are Singapore and Japan. Malaysia and the ROK take over for 2000-01. There is also an Intersessional Meeting on Disaster Relief (ISM/DR), which has been co-chaired by Vietnam and Russia. Other technical-level groups focus on Search & Rescue and Peacekeeping Operations.

ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Members

The ten ASEAN members: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

ASEAN's ten "Dialogue Partners": Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Others: Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, DPRK.

Total ARF Members: 23

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