Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Formation 8 August, 1967
Type Regional organisation
Legal status Active
Headquarters Bangkok, Thailand

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN in English, the official language of the bloc), is a geo-political and economic organization of 6 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Laos. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of the peace and stability of the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully



ASEAN was preceded by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia, commonly called ASA, an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was established on 8 August 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, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers– Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand– are considered as the organisation's Founding Fathers.

The motivations for the birth of ASEAN were so that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building, the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in the 1960s, as well as a desire for economic development; not to mention Indonesia’s ambition to become a regional hegemon through regional cooperation and the hope on the part of Malaysia and Singapore to constrain Indonesia and bring it into a more cooperative framework.

In 1976, the Melanesian state of Papua New Guinea was accorded observer status. Throughout the 1970s, the organisation embarked on a program of economic cooperation, following the Bali Summit of 1976. This had already begun to flounder by the time Doomsday happened.


After the short nuclear war destroyed much of the northern hemisphere, ASEAN was somewhat forgoten, as civil war in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the nuclear strikes in the Philippines took precedence to the organization. This state of hiatus for the organization would last for quite some time and it was not until 1993, when a meeting between the leaders of Thailand and Singapore saw the rebirth of the idea of a joint economic and welfare area in southeast Asia.

Thus, six months after the meeting, another one was held in Kuala Lumpur between the old members of the organization, as well as Laos which acted as an observer, and the ASEAN Free Trade Area Agreement, a common trade bloc between the members, was signed. This would be one of many trade agreements, which ultimately helped significanlty bolster the economy of not just the member states, but the region as a whole.

Current members

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