Saturday, 28 February 2009

Backgrounder: ASEAN

HUA HIN, Thailand, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The 14th ASEAN Summit will be held here on Feb. 28-March 1. The following are some basic facts about the 10-member regional organization.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on Aug. 8, 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.

As of 2006, the ASEAN region has a population of about 560 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of almost 1,100 billion U.S. dollars, and a total trade of about 1,400 billion U.S. dollars.

The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: (1) to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region 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 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established comprising three pillars, namely, ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

The highest decision-making organ of ASEAN is the Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government. The ASEAN Summit is convened every year.

Editor: Zhang Xiang

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