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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 endeavors 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.”

Fundamental Principles

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.
Political Cooperation

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 Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, Bangkok, 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
ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT), 11 January 2007
Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, 11 January 2007
ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, 5 November 2001; and
Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Promoting Defence Cooperation for a Dynamic ASEAN Community, 25 May 2016.

Lyrics for the ASEAN anthem :

Raise our flag high, sky high
Embrace the pride in our heart
ASEAN we are bonded as one
Look-in out to the world.
For peace, our goal from the very start
And prosperity to last.
We dare to dream we care to share.
Together for ASEAN
we dare to dream,
we care to share for it’s the way of ASEAN.
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