12th ASEAN Summit





Association of Southeast Asian Nations

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political, economic, and cultural organization of countries located in Southeast Asia. Formed on August 8, 1967, by Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, as a non-provocative display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and insurgency within their own borders. Following the Bali Summit of 1976, the organisation embarked on a programme of economic cooperation, which floundered in the mid-1980's only to be revived around a 1991 Thai proposal for a regional "free trade area". The countries meet annually.


The current member countries of ASEAN are (earliest to most recent membership):

Papua New Guinea has observer status in ASEAN.

ASEAN regularly conducts dialogue meetings with other countries and an organization, collectively known as the ASEAN dialogue partners during the ASEAN Regional Forum.

The association includes about 8% of the world's population and in 2003 it had a combined GDP of about US$700 billion (roughly equivalent to South Korea) and this GDP was growing at an average rate of around 4% p.a. The economies of member countries of ASEAN are diverse, although its major products include electronics, oil, and wood.

The ASEAN countries are culturally rich. It includes more Muslims than any other geopolitical entity. About 240 million Muslims live mostly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Buddhism constitutes the main religion of mainland Southeast Asia and there are about 170 million Buddhists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Catholic is predominant in Philippines.

ASEAN has governments with widely differing views on governance and political process, including practices in areas such as suffrage and representation. It encompasses styles of government ranging from democracy to autocracy.

Comparison with other Regional blocs

The 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. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: ASEAN, Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, and the United States.


ASEAN was originally formed out of an organization called Maphilindo, essentially an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the early 1960s. As such, Maphilindo is considered the predecessor to ASEAN.

ASEAN itself was established on August 8, 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration (also known as the Bangkok Declaration). The five foreign ministers, considered the organization's Founding Fathers, were Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso R. Ramos of the Philippines, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand. The founding fathers envisaged that the organization would eventually encompass all countries in Southeast Asia.

Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member of the ASEAN when it joined on January 7, 1984, barely a week after the country became independent on January 1. It would be a further 11 years before ASEAN expanded from its core six members. Vietnam became the seventh member in July 28, 1995, and Laos and Myanmar joined two years later in July 23, 1997. Vietnam would become the first Communist member of ASEAN. Cambodia was to have joined the ASEAN together with Laos and Myanmar, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. Cambodia later joined on April 30, 1999, following the stabilization of its government. Thus was completed the ASEAN-10—the organization of all countries in Southeast Asia.

The ASEAN Summit

The organization holds annual meetings in relation to economic, and cultural development of Southeast Asian countries.

The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. At first it was unscheduled due to domestic issues of member countries. Then in 1992, leaders decided to hold meetings every three years. It was changed in 2001 when leaders decide to hold it annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case in Myanmar where it dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States.

The formal summit are held in three days. The usual itinerary are as follows:

  • ASEAN leaders hold an internal organization meeting.
  • ASEAN leaders hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • Leaders of 3 ASEAN Dialogue Partners (also known as ASEAN+3) namely China, Japan and South Korea hold a meeting with the ASEAN leaders.
  • A separate meeting is set for leaders of 2 ASEAN Dialogue Partners (also known as ASEAN-CER) namely Australia and New Zealand.

At the 11th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, new meetings were scheduled. These were:

  • East Asia Summit - converging ASEAN and six dialogue partners namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
  • ASEAN-Russia Summit - meeting between ASEAN leaders and the President of Russia.
ASEAN Formal Summit
Number Date Country Place
1st 1976 February 23 - February 24 Indonesia Bali
2nd 1977 August 4 - August 5 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
3rd 1987 December 14 - December 15 Philippines Manila
4th 1992 January 27 - January 29 Singapore
5th 1995 December 14 - December 15 Thailand Bangkok
6th 1998 December 15 - December 16 Vietnam Hanoi
7th 2001 November 5 - November 6 Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
8th 2002 November 4 - November 5 Cambodia Phnom Penh
9th 2003 October 7 - October 8 Indonesia Bali
10th 2004 November 29 - November 30 Laos Vientiane
11th 2005 December 12 - December 14 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
12th 2006 December Philippines Cebu City
13th 2007 Singapore
14th 2008 Thailand
15th 2009 Vietnam

To address urgent regional issues, ASEAN leaders hold informal summit meetings while formal meetings were being prepared. Leaders decided to discontinue informal meetings in 2000 and hold formal meetings every year effective 2001.

ASEAN Informal Summit
Number Date Country Place
1st 1996 November 30 Indonesia Jakarta
2nd 1997 December 14 - December 16 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
3rd 1999 November 27 - November 28 Philippines Manila
4th 2000 November 22 - November 25 Singapore


Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Flag of ASEAN

(ASEAN flag)
Hymn: The ASEAN Hymn
Seat of Secretariat


Secretary General

Ong Keng Yong


 - Total

4,480,000 km2


- Total (2004)
 - Density

122.3 people/km˛

GDP (2003)

 - Total
 - Total
 - GDP/capita
 - GDP/capita

$2.172 trillion (PPP)
$681 billion (Nominal)
$4,044 (PPP)
$1,267 (Nominal)

Bangkok Declaration

 - 8 August 1967

Currencies Peso (PHP), Ringgit (MYR), Kyat (MMK), Kip (LAK), Baht (THB), Riel (KHR), Singapore Dollar (SGD), Bruneian Dollar (BND), Rupiah (IDR), Dong (VND)
Time zone UTC +6 to +10

Cebu Provinc Website
Cebu City Website
Mandaue City Website