ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a regional group of countries based in Southeast Asia. Founded in 1961, it has several objectives, including economic and political cooperation. Members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Below is a look at each country’s role in ASEAN. Once you know what ASEAN is, you can become more familiar with the region.
One of the major reasons ASEAN was established was to counter communism. The Soviet Union’s occupation of the northern Korean peninsula led to the establishment of communist governments in China and North Korea. The region became the epicenter of anti-communism movements. The ASEAN Full Form addresses this issue. A common goal for all members is economic development. ASEAN member countries are a valuable resource for each other. There are also many opportunities for ASEAN members.
ASEAN countries have a diverse array of issues and concerns. The 1997 Asian financial crisis shook Thailand and prompted the group to become more economically integrated. In 2000, the ASEAN members agreed to a currency swap arrangement, dubbed the Chiang Mai Initiative. This was intended to combat currency speculation and provide financial assistance for one another. ASEAN’s goal was to create a single free-trade area for the region.
ASEAN is a political and economic organization headed by a chair, which rotates annually among member states. An administrative secretariat is based in Jakarta. Important decisions are often reached by consensus or consultation and are guided by principles of noninterference in internal affairs and peaceful resolution of conflict. However, some experts see this as a disadvantage of ASEAN, saying that consensus is outdated and the principles of noninterference have limited the group’s ability to influence decisions on issues like dealing with China and resolving crises within specific ASEAN states.
ASEAN and Europe meet annually during ASEM. ASEM was originally created in 1996 to promote closer cooperation between Europe and Asia. In addition, the group appoints a representative to the governing board of the Asia-Europe Foundation, a socio-cultural organization associated with ASEM. ASEAN also holds bilateral meetings with India, Russia, and the United States. And this is not all, though. As mentioned, ASEAN is now in its twentieth year.
ASEAN’s flag is a symbol of the countries’ union. It features four colors – red, blue, and yellow – each with a different meaning. The flag is also a symbol of unity and diversity. Red is a sign of courage, while yellow represents prosperity. The paddy stalk, which represents unity and hope, appears in the center of the flag. The ASEAN flag was adopted on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, and Laos joined on 23 September 1997.
The ASEAN Charter is the governing document of the community. It outlines its legal status and institutional framework, enshrines its core principles, and defines the requirements for membership. Timor-Leste submitted an application for membership in 2011, but some members are against the move. The Charter also outlines the three branches of the community. The three branches include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the ASEAN Community, and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.