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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN (generally , occasionally in English, the official language of the bloc), is a geo-political and economic organisation of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesiamarker, Malaysiamarker, the Philippinesmarker, Singaporemarker and Thailandmarker. Since then, membership has expanded to include Bruneimarker, Burma marker, Cambodiamarker, Laosmarker, and Vietnammarker. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of the peace and stability of the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.

In 2005, the bloc spanned over an area of 4.46 million km2 with a combined GDP (Nominal/PPP) of about USD$896.5 billion/$2,728 billion growing at an average rate of around 5.6% per annum.In 2008, its combined GDP had grown to more than USD $1.5 trillion with a population of approximately 580 million people (8.7% of the world population)


ASEAN was preceded by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia, commonly called ASA, an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was established on 8 August 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkokmarker and signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand are considered as the organisation's Founding Fathers.

The motivations for the birth of ASEAN were so that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building), the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in the 1960s, as well as a desire for economic development; not to mention Indonesia’s ambition to become a regional hegemon through regional cooperation and the hope on the part of Malaysia and Singapore to constrain Indonesia and bring it into a more cooperative framework. Unlike the European Union, ASEAN was designed to serve nationalism.

In 1976, the Melanesian state of Papua New Guinea was accorded observer status. Throughout the 1970s, the organisation embarked on a program of economic cooperation, following the Bali Summit of 1976. This floundered in the mid-1980s and was only revived around 1991 due to a Thai proposal for a regional free trade area. The bloc then grew when Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member after it joined on 8 January 1984, barely a week after the country became independent on 1 January.

On 28 July 1995, Vietnam became the seventh member. Laos and Burma (Myanmar) joined two years later in 23 July 1997. Cambodia was to have joined together with Laos and Myanmar, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. The country later joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilisation of its government.

During the 1990s, the bloc experienced an increase in both membership as well as in the drive for further integration. In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus composing the then-members of ASEAN as well as the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing influence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as well as in the Asian region as a whole. This proposal, however, failed since it faced heavy opposition from Japan and the United States. Despite this failure, member states continued to work for further integration. In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was signed as a schedule for phasing tariffs and as a goal to increase the region’s competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market. This law would act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area. After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian proposal was established in Chiang Maimarker, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, which calls for better integration between the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Plus Three countries (Chinamarker, Japanmarker, and South Koreamarker).

Aside from improving each member state's economies, 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 intention of turning Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The treaty took effect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states have ratified it. It became fully effective on 21 June 2001, after the Philippines ratified it, effectively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.

At the turn of the 21st century, issues shifted to involve a more environmental perspective. The organisation started to discuss environmental agreements. These included the signing of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002 as an attempt to control haze pollution in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful due to the outbreaks of the 2005 Malaysian haze and the 2006 Southeast Asian haze. Other environmental treaties introduced by the organisation include the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security, the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network in 2005, and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, both of which are responses to the potential effects of climate change. Climate change is of current interest.

Through the Bali Concord II in 2003, ASEAN has subscribed to the notion of democratic peace, which means all member countries believe democratic processes will promote regional peace and stability. Also, the non-democratic members all agreed that it was something all member states should aspire to.

The leaders of each country, particularly Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, also felt the need to further integrate the region. Beginning in 1997, the bloc began creating organisations within its framework with the intention of achieving this goal. ASEAN Plus Three was the first of these and was created to improve existing ties with the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea. This was followed by the even larger East Asia Summit, which included these countries as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand. This new grouping acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community, which was supposedly patterned after the now-defunct European Community. The ASEAN Eminent 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. As a response, the organisation awarded the status of "dialogue partner" to the United Nations. Furthermore, on 23 July that year, José Ramos-Horta, then Prime Minister of East Timor, signed a formal request for membership and expected the accession process to last at least five years before the then-observer state became a full member.

In 2007, ASEAN celebrated its 40th anniversary since its inception, and 30 years of diplomatic relations with the United States. On 26 August 2007, ASEAN stated that it aims to complete all its free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand by 2013, in line with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. In November 2007 the ASEAN members signed the ASEAN Charter, a constitution governing relations among the ASEAN members and establishing ASEAN itself as an international legal entity. During the same year, the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security in Cebumarker on 15 January 2007, by ASEAN and the other members of the EAS (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), which promotes energy security by finding energy alternatives to conventional fuels.

On February 27, 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with the ASEAN regional block of 10 countries and New Zealand and its close partner Australia was signed, it is estimated that this FTA would boost aggregate GDP across the 12 countries by more than US$48 billion over the period 2000-2020.

The ASEAN way

In the 1960s, the push for decolonisation promoted the sovereignty of Indonesia and Malaysia among others. Since nation building is often messy and vulnerable to foreign intervention, the governing elite wanted to be free to implement independent policies with the knowledge that neighbours would refrain from interfering in their domestic affairs. Territorially small members such as Singapore and Brunei were consciously fearful of force and coercive measures from much bigger neighbours like Indonesia and Malaysia. "Through political dialogue and confidence building, no tension has escalated into armed confrontation among ASEAN member countries since its establishment more than three decades ago".

The ASEAN way can be traced back to the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South East Asian. "Fundamental principles adopted from this included:mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;

the right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, 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 cooperation among themselves".

On the surface, the process of consultations and consensus is supposed to be a democratic approach to decision making, but the ASEAN process has been managed through close interpersonal contacts among the top leaders only, who often share a reluctance to institutionalise and legalise co-operation which can undermine their regime's control over the conduct of regional co-operation. Thus, the organisation is chaired by the secretariat.

All of these features, namely non-interference, informality, minimal institutionalisation, consultation and consensus, non-use of force and non-confrontation have constituted what is called the ASEAN Way.

Since the late 1990s, many scholars have argued that the principle of non-interference has blunted ASEAN efforts in handling the problem of Myanmar, human rights abuses and haze pollution in the region. Meanwhile, with the consensus-based approach, every member in fact has a veto and decisions are usually reduced to the lowest common denominator. There has been a widespread belief that ASEAN members should have a less rigid view on these two cardinal principles when they wish to be seen as a cohesive and relevant community.


Apart from consultations and consensus, ASEAN’s agenda-setting and decision-making processes can be usefully understood in terms of the so-called Track I and Track II. Track I refers to the practice of diplomacy among government channels. The participants stand as representatives of their respective states and reflect the official positions of their governments during negotiations and discussions. All official decisions are made in Track I. Therefore, "Track I refers to intergovernmental processes". Track II differs slightly from Track I, involving civil society groups and other individuals with various links who work alongside governments. This track enables governments to discuss controversial issues and test new ideas without making official statements or binding commitments, and, if necessary, backtrack on positions.

Although Track II dialogues are sometimes cited as examples of the involvement of civil society in regional decision-making process by governments and other second track actors, NGOs have rarely got access to this track, meanwhile participants from the academic community are a dozen think-tanks. However, these think-tanks are, in most cases, very much linked to their respective governments, and dependent on government funding for their academic and policy-relevant activities, and many working in Track II have previous bureaucratic experience. Their recommendations, especially in economic integration, are often closer to ASEAN’s decisions than the rest of civil society’s positions.

The track that acts as a forum for civil society in Southeast Asia is called Track III. Track III participants are generally civil society groups who represent a particular idea or brand. Track III networks claim to represent communities and people who are largely marginalised from political power centres and unable to achieve positive change without outside assistance. This track tries to influence government policies indirectly by lobbying, generating pressure through the media. Third-track actors also organise and/or attend meetings as well as conferences to get access to Track I officials.

While Track II meetings and interactions with Track I actors have increased and intensified, rarely has the rest of civil society had the opportunity to interface with Track II. Those with Track I have been even rarer.

Looking at the three tracks, it is clear that until now, ASEAN has been run by government officials who, as far as ASEAN matters are concerned, are accountable only to their governments and not the people. In a lecture on the occasion of ASEAN’s 38th anniversary, the incumbent Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono admitted:

“All the decisions about treaties and free trade areas, about declarations and plans of action, are made by Heads of Government, ministers and senior officials. And the fact that among the masses, there is little knowledge, let alone appreciation, of the large initiatives that ASEAN is taking on their behalf.”


ASEAN Summit

The organisation holds meetings, known as the ASEAN Summit, where heads of government of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to conduct other meetings with other countries outside of the bloc with the intention of promoting external relations.

The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manilamarker in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years. Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years. In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Myanmar which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.

By December 2008, the ASEAN Charter came into force and with it, the ASEAN Summit will be held twice in a year.

The formal summit meets for three days. The usual itinerary is as follows:
  • Leaders of member states would hold an internal organisation meeting.
  • Leaders of member states would hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • A meeting, known as ASEAN Plus Three, is set for leaders of three Dialogue Partners (People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea)
  • A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is set for another set of leaders of two Dialogue Partners (Australia, New Zealand).

ASEAN Formal Summits
Date Country Host
1st 23–24 February, 1976 Balimarker
2nd 4–5 August, 1977 Kuala Lumpurmarker
3rd 14–15 December, 1987 Manilamarker
4th 27‒29 January, 1992 Singaporemarker
5th 14‒15 December, 1995 Bangkokmarker
6th 15‒16 December, 1998 Hanoimarker
7th 5‒6 November, 2001 Bandar Seri Begawanmarker
8th 4‒5 November, 2002 Phnom Penhmarker
9th 7‒8 October, 2003 Balimarker
10th 29‒30 November, 2004 Vientianemarker
11th 12‒14 December, 2005 Kuala Lumpurmarker
12th 11‒14 January, 20071 2 Cebumarker
13th 18‒22 November, 2007 Singaporemarker
14th3 27 February - 1 March, 2009

10-11 April 2009
Cha Ammarker, Hua Hinmarker

15th 23 October 2009 Cha Ammarker, Hua Hinmarker
16th 2010 Hanoimarker
1 Postponed from 10‒14 December, 2006 due to Typhoon Seniang.
2 hosted the summit because Myanmar backed out due to enormous pressure from US and EU
3 This summit consisted of two parts.

The first part was moved from 12‒17 December, 2008 due to the 2008 Thai political crisis.

The second part was aborted on April 11 due to protesters entering the summit venue.

During the fifth Summit in Bangkok, the leaders decided to meet "informally" between each formal summit:
ASEAN Informal Summits
Date Country Host
1st 30 November 1996 Jakartamarker
2nd 14‒16 December, 1997 Kuala Lumpurmarker
3rd 27‒28 November, 1999 Manilamarker
4th 22‒25 November, 2000 Singaporemarker

East Asia Summit

Participants of the East Asia Summit:

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia and the region, with ASEAN in a leadership position. The summit has discussed issues including trade, energy and security and the summit has a role in regional community building.

The members of the summit are all 10 members of ASEAN together with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand who combined represent almost half of the world's population. Russia has applied for membership of the summit and in 2005 was a guest for the First EAS at the invitation of the host - Malaysiamarker.

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005 and subsequent meetings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting.

Meeting Country Location Date Note
First EAS Kuala Lumpurmarker 14 December 2005 Russia attended as a guest.
Second EAS Cebu Citymarker 15 January 2007 Rescheduled from 13 December 2006.

Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security
Third EAS Singaporemarker 21 November 2007 Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment

Agreed to establish Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Fourth EAS Cha-am and Hua Hinmarker 25 October 2009 The date and location of the venue was rescheduled several times, and then a Summit scheduled for 12 April 2009 at Pattayamarker, Thailand was cancelled when protesters stormed the venue. The Summit has been rescheduled for October 2009 and transferred again from Phuket to Cha-am and Hua Hin.

Commemorative summit

A commemorative summit is a summit hosted by a non-ASEAN country to mark a milestone anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and the host country. The host country invites the heads of government of ASEAN member countries to discuss future cooperation and partnership.

Meeting Host Location Date Note
ASEAN – Japan Commemorative Summit Tokyomarker 11, 12 December 2003 To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Japanmarker. The summit was also notable as the first ASEAN summit held between ASEAN and a non-ASEAN country outside the region.
ASEAN – China Commemorative Summit Nanningmarker 30, 31 October 2006 To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Chinamarker
ASEAN – Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit Jeju-domarker 1, 2 June 2009 To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Republic of Koreamarker

Regional Forum

█ ASEAN full members

ASEAN observers

ASEAN candidate members

ASEAN Plus Three

East Asia Summit

ASEAN Regional Forum
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it is consisted of 27 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all the ASEAN members, Australia, Bangladeshmarker, Canadamarker, the People's Republic of Chinamarker, the European Union, Indiamarker, Japanmarker, North Koreamarker, South Koreamarker, Mongoliamarker, New Zealandmarker, Pakistanmarker, Papua New Guineamarker, Russiamarker, Timor-Lestemarker, United Statesmarker and Sri Lankamarker. The Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait is neither discussed at the ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman's Statements.

Other meetings

Aside from the ones above, other regular meetings are also held. These include the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as well as other smaller committees, such as the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. Meetings mostly focus on specific topics, such as defence or the environment, and are attended by Ministers, instead of heads of government.

Plus Three

The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, and is primarily held during each ASEAN Summit.

Asia-Europe Meeting

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 with the intention of strengthening cooperation between the countries of Europe and Asia, especially members of the European Union and ASEAN in particular. ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the 45 ASEM partners. It also appoints a representative to sit on the governing board of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), a socio-cultural organisation associated with the Meeting.

ASEAN-Russia Summit

The ASEAN-Russia Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the President of Russia.

Economic Community

ASEAN has emphasised regional cooperation in the “three pillars” of security, sociocultural and economic integration. The regional grouping has made the most progress in economic integration, aiming to create an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

Free Trade Area

The foundation of the AEC is the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), a common external preferential tariff scheme to promote the free flow of goods within ASEAN. The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The latecomers have not fully met the AFTA's obligations, but they are officially 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.

Comprehensive Investment Area

The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Area (ACIA) will encourage the free flow of investment within ASEAN. The main principles of the ACIA are as follows
  • All industries are to be opened up for investment, with exclusions to be phased out according to schedules
  • National treatment is granted immediately to ASEAN investors with few exclusions
  • Elimination of investment impediments
  • Streamlining of investment process and procedures
  • Enhancing transparency
  • Undertaking investment facilitation measures
Full realisation of the ACIA with the removal of temporary exclusion lists in manufacturing agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining is scheduled by 2010 for most ASEAN members and by 2015 for the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) countries.

Trade in Services

An ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December 1995. 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 commitments. The negotiations result in commitments that are set forth in schedules of specific commitments annexed to the Framework Agreement. These schedules are often referred to as packages of services commitments. At present, ASEAN has concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.

Single Aviation Market

The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (SAM), proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and endorsed by the ASEAN Transport Ministers, will introduce an open-sky arrangement to the region by 2015. The ASEAN SAM will be expected to fully liberalise air travel between its member states, allowing ASEAN to directly benefit from the growth in air travel around the world, and also freeing up tourism, trade, investment and services flows between member states. Beginning 1 December 2008, restrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities of member states for air passengers services will be removed, while from 1 January 2009, there will be full liberalisation of air freight services in the region, while By 1 January 2011, there will be liberalisation of fifth freedom traffic rights between all capital cities.

Free Trade Agreements With Other Countries

ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most recently India. In addition, it is currently negotiating free trade agreement with the European Union. Taiwan has also expressed interest in an agreement with ASEAN but needs to overcome diplomatic objections from China.


On 15 December 2008 the members of ASEAN met in the Indonesianmarker capital of Jakartamarker to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer to "an EU-style community". The charter turns ASEAN into a legal entity and aims to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that "This is a momentous development when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community. It is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift," he added, referring to climate change and economic upheaval. Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s." "The fundamental principles include:

a) respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States;b) shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity;c) renunciation of aggression and of the threat or use of force or other actions in any manner inconsistent with international law;d) reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes;e) non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States;f) respect for the right of every Member State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion and coercion;g) enhanced consultations on matters seriously affecting the common interest of ASEAN;h) adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government;i) respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the promotion of social justice;j) upholding the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law, subscribed to by ASEAN Member States;k) abstention from participation in any policy or activity, including the use of its territory, pursued by and ASEAN Member State or non-ASEAN State or any non-State actor, which threatens the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States;l) respect for the different cultures, languages and religions of the peoples of ASEAN, while emphasising their common values in the spirit of unity in diversity;m) the centrality of ASEAN in external political, economic, social and cultural relations while remaining actively engaged, outward-looking, inclusive and non-discriminatory; andn) adherence to multilateral trade rules and ASEAN's rules-based regimes for effective implementation of economic commitments and progressive reduction towards elimination of all barriers to regional economic integration, in a market-driven economy".

However, the ongoing global financial crisis was stated as being a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter, and also set forth the idea of a proposed human rights body 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 who violate citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness.

Cultural activities

Logo of the S.E.A.
Write Award
The organisation hosts cultural activities in an attempt to further integrate the region. These include sports and educational activities as well as writing awards. Examples of these include the ASEAN University Network, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award, and the Singapore-sponsored ASEAN Scholarship.

S.E.A. Write Award

The S.E.A. Write Award is a literary award given to Southeast Asian poets and writers annually since 1979. The award is either given for a specific work or as a recognition of an author's lifetime achievement. Works that are honoured vary and have included poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore as well as scholarly and religious works. Ceremonies are held in Bangkok and are presided by a member of the Thai royal family.


ASAIHL or the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1956 that strives to strengthen higher learning institutions, espescially in teaching, research, and public service, with the intention of cultivating a sense of regional identity and interdependence.

Heritage Parks

ASEAN Heritage Parks is a list of nature parks launched 1984 and relaunched in 2004. It aims to protect the region's natural treasures. There are now 35 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Parkmarker and the Kinabalu National Parkmarker.


ASEAN Heritage Sites
Site Country Site Country
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park Ao Phang-nga Marine National Park
Apo Natural Parkmarker Ba Be National Parkmarker
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parkmarker Gunung Leuser National Parkmarker
Gunung Mulu National Parkmarker Ha Long Baymarker
Hoang Lien Sa Pa National Park Iglit-Baco National Park
Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuarymarker Inlé Lake Wildlife Sanctuarymarker
Kaeng Krachan National Parkmarker Kerinci Seblat National Parkmarker
Khakaborazi National Park Khao Yai National Parkmarker
Kinabalu National Parkmarker Komodo National Parkmarker
Kon Ka Kinh National Parkmarker Lampi Kyun Wildlife Reserve
Lorentz National Parkmarker Meinmhala Kyun Wildlife Sanctuarymarker
Mu Ko Surin-Mu Ko Similanmarker Marine National Park Nam Ha Protected Area
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Parkmarker Preah Monivong (Bokor) National Park
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Parkmarker Sungei Buloh Wetland Reservemarker
Taman Negara National Parkmarker Tarutao Marine National Parkmarker
Tasek Merimbun Wildlife Sanctuary Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng National Park
Tubbataha Reef Marine Parkmarker Ujung Kulon National Parkmarker
Virachey National Parkmarker Keraton Yogyakartamarker


The ASEAN Scholarship is a scholarship program offered by Singaporemarker to the 9 other member states for secondary school, junior college, and university education. It covers accommodation, food, medical benefits & accident insurance, school fees, and examination fees.

University Network

The ASEAN University Network (AUN) is a consortium of Southeast Asian universities. It was originally founded in November 1995 by 11 universities within the member states. Currently AUN comprises 21 Participating Universities.

Official song


Southeast Asian Games

The Southeast Asian Games, commonly known as the SEA Games, is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia. The games is under regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committeemarker (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.

ASEAN Para Games

Logo of the ASEAN Para Games
The ASEAN Para Games is a biennial multi-sport event held after every Southeast Asian Games for athletes with physical disabilities. The games are participated by the 11 countries located in Southeast Asia. The Games, patterned after the Paralympic Games, are played by physically-challenged athletes with mobility disabilities, visual disabilities, who are amputees and those with cerebral palsy.

FESPIC Games/ Asian Para Games

The FESPIC Games, also known as the Far East and South Pacific Games for the persons with disability, was the biggest multi-sports games in Asia and South Pacific region. The FESPIC Games were held nine times and bowed out, a success in December 2006 in the 9th FESPIC Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Games re-emerges as the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhoumarker, Chinamarker. The 2010 Asian Para Games will debut shortly after the conclusion of the 16th Asian Games, using the same facilities and venue made disability-accessible. The inaugural Asian Para Games, the parallel event for athletes with physical disabilities, is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Asian Games.

Football Championship

The ASEAN Football Championship is a biennial Football competition organised by the ASEAN Football Federation, accredited by FIFAmarker and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia nations. It was inaugurated in 1996 as Tiger Cup, but after Asia Pacific Breweries terminated the sponsorship deal, "Tiger" was renamed "ASEAN".


Western countries have criticised ASEAN for being too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the junta-led Myanmar. Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on peaceful protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to suspend Myanmar as a member and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions. This has caused concern as the European Union, a potential trade partner, has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons. International observers view it as a "talk shop", which implies that the organisation is "big on words but small on action".

During the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebumarker, several activist groups staged anti-globalisation and anti-Arroyo rallies. According to the activists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in the Philippines and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs. They also viewed the organisation as imperialistic that threatens the country's sovereignty. A human rights lawyer from New Zealandmarker was also present to protest about the human rights situation in the region in general.

ASEAN has agreed to an ASEAN human rights body which will come into force in 2009. The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand want this body to have an enforcement capacity, however Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Laos and Cambodia do not.

See also


  1. Search Voice of America
  2. ASEAN-10: Meeting the Challenges, by Termsak Chalermpalanupap, ASEAN Secretariat official website. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
  3. Bangkok Declaration. Wikisource. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
  4. Overview, ASEAN Secretariat official website. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
  5. European Union Relations with ASEAN. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  6. East Asia Economic Caucus. ASEAN Secretariat. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
  7. Asia's Reaction to NAFTA Nancy J. Hamilton. CRS - Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
  8. Whither East Asia? Asian Views. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
  9. Japan Straddles Fence on Issue of East Asia Caucus International Herald tribune. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
  10. Bangkok Treaty (in alphabetical order) At UNODA United Nations. Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
  11. ASEAN Secretariat. ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution. Extracted 12 October 2006
  12. East Asian leaders to promote biofuel, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 March 2007.
  13. RP resolution for observer status in UN assembly OK’d, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 March 2007.
  14. "Overview Association of Southeast Asian Nations", Retrieved on 27 July 2009.
  15. "Overview Association of South East Asian Nations", Retrieved on 27 July 2009.
  16. "Association of South East Asian Nations", "Microsoft Encarta", Retrieved on 27 July 2009. Archived 2009-10-31.
  17. Morrison, Charles. (2004): "Track 1/Track 2 symbiosis in Asia-Pacific regionalism", "The Pacific Review", 17,(4):548.
  18. Simon, Sheldon W. (2002: ["Evaluating Track II approaches to security diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific: the CSCAP experience"], "The Pacific Review", 15,(2): 168, ISSN 0951–2748.
  19. Morrison, Charles. (2004): "Track 1/Track 2 symbiosis in Asia-Pacific regionalism", "The Pacific Review", 17,(4):549
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External links



ASEAN organisations

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