10 States ― Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 1 Observer – Papua New Guinea.
ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Membership
27 States – Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Lester, United States, and Vietnam.
ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original member countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.
The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: (1) to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and (2) to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of State and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.”
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, signed at the First ASEAN Summit on 24 February 1976, declared that in their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties should be guided by the following fundamental principles:
• 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.
The TAC stated that ASEAN political and security dialogue and cooperation should aim to promote regional peace and stability by enhancing regional resilience. Regional resilience shall be achieved by cooperating in all fields based on the principles of self-confidence, self-reliance, mutual respect, cooperation, and solidarity, which shall constitute the foundation for a strong and viable community of nations in Southeast Asia.
Some of the major political accords of ASEAN are as follows:
• ASEAN Declaration, Bangkok, 8 August 1967
• Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration, Kuala Lumpur, 27 November 1971
• Declaration of ASEAN Concord, Bali, 24 February 1976
• Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Bali, 24 February 1976
• ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea, Manila, 22 July 1992
• Treaty on the Sout 15 December 1997
• ASEAN Vision 2020, Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 1997
• Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, 5 November 2001
• Declaration of ASEAN Concord II, Bali, 7 October 2003
Although ASEAN States cooperate mainly on economic and social issues, the organization has a security function, with a long-discussed program for confidence-building measures and for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Southeast Asia, with the objective of implementing ASEAN’s 1971 Declaration on a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), and a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), which would be a component of ZOPFAN