SPOTLIGHT: On April 24, 2021, a special summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took place at the headquarters of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta (Indonesia). The focus of the meeting was the situation in Myanmar. In a coup at the beginning of February 2021, the military took back state power there, arrested democratically elected representatives and declared a state of emergency. The heads of government and foreign ministers of the member states, including the Junta chief of Myanmar, took part in the special summit. The participants at the summit called for an end to the violence in Myanmar.

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

According to nonprofitdictionary, APEC is an international organization that was founded in 1967 in Bangkok (Thailand). It is largely similar in structure and structure to the EU.

To consolidate peace in Southeast Asia through economic, social and cultural cooperation.

Members (10)
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand (1967 – founding members), Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Myanmar (formerly Burma or Burma) and Laos (1997), Cambodia (1999)

ASEAN – residents and economy

The graphic compares the population figures (left diagram) and the economic data (right diagram) of the ASEAN countries. The two diagrams below compare ASEAN with the EU.

ASEAN in 2019

  • With around 660 million, it had significantly more inhabitants than the EU-27 with 447 million
  • At 3.273 billion US dollars, it generated about 21% of the GDP of the EU-27 of 15.593 billion US dollars

Geographical location Southeast Asia

The 3D image classifies the region in its global position and enables a comparison with the above graphic of the member states of ASEAN.

Main organs of ASEAN

  • Ordinary summit conference (ASEAN summit) of heads of state or government (every three years)
  • Informal summits (since 1996 – annually or as needed)
  • Foreign ministers conference as the central decision-making body with an alphabetically rotating chair for one year each (annually)
  • Meeting of the line ministers (regular)
  • Secretary General with Secretariat (around 30 employees) in Jakarta (Indonesia)

Dialog diplomacy

After the regular ASEAN foreign ministerial meetings (see above), the PMC (Post Ministerial Conference) with the foreign ministers of the “dialogue partners” USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, India and the EU takes place. – Since 1994 there has been an additional security dialogue with the same composition: ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

Important activities

1971: Establishment of the Zone for Peace, Freedom and Neutrality ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality).

1995: Treaty on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), which came into force in 1997.

2001: At the 7th ASEAN Summit Conference in Brunei in November 2001, the heads of state and government condemned all forms of terrorism in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and expressed their condolences to the victims. These attacks represented an “attack against humanity”. However, one should not associate terrorism with any religion or race. Out of consideration for the Islamic states of Malaysia and Indonesia, the military operation against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was not mentioned in the final communiqué. At a meeting of foreign ministers in July 2002, the member states reached an agreement with the USA on the fight against terrorism.

2002: The project to establish the AFTA free trade area (ASEAN Free Trade Area), which was decided in 1992 and which was originally to be implemented by 2008, was brought forward under the impact of the economic and financial crisis in the mid-1990s. – On January 1, 2002, the agreement came into force for the six economically advanced ASEAN member states (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). – The zone will gradually be extended to Vietnam (until 2006) as well as Laos and Myanmar (2008) and Cambodia (2010), depending on the level of development of the other ASEAN countries.

other activities

In the interests of improving trade relations, it was agreed that the ASEAN states would establish formal relations with India. Such contacts already exist with China, Japan and South Korea.

In view of the increasing economic strength of the PRC, the expansion of the AFTA to China, Japan and South Korea is being considered. In November 2001, the Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji suggested the establishment of a China and ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA), which would be created within a decade and would be the world’s largest free trade area.

The 1997 “ASEAN Vision 2020” agreement aims at more open societies in the region.