Major milestones in ASEAN history

The establishment of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015, with three key pillars of Politics-Security, Economics, Culture-Society, marks a major milestone of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The following is the key milestones in the 67-year history of the ASEAN.

On August, 8, 1967, ASEAN was born with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration with five founding members, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, with the goal of fostering the socio-economic and cultural cooperation among member nations and facilitating their integration into the regional and world economy.

In 1971, the bloc signed the Declaration on the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), reiterating its resolve to maintain neutrality and non-alignment in the Southeast Asia and ensure peace, stability and security in the region.

In 1976, ASEAN issued the Declaration of ASEAN Concord (also known as Bali Declaration 1) and signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) to further boost peace and stability in the region.

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In 1992, ASEAN signed the Framework Agreement on enhancing ASEAN economic cooperation and the agreement on ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), laying an important foundation for expanding regional economic-trade cooperation and the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

In 1994, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established at the 26th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, aiming at expanding external relations and strengthening dialogues on regional security.

In 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) is signed.

In July the same year, Vietnam joined ASEAN, starting the process of expanding the bloc.

In 1997, the ASEAN Vision 2020 was adopted, envisioning a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and close-knit region with an active partnership and supporting community.

In 1998, the Hanoi Plan of Action was adopted at the sixth ASEAN Summit Meeting in Hanoi to implement the Declaration of the ASEAN Vision 2020 in the 1998-2004 period.

In 1999, Cambodia joined the bloc as the 10 th member.

In 2002, ASEAN and China signs the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in an effort to seek peaceful solutions to the East Sea-related issues.

In 2003, the bloc issued the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Declaration 2) identifying the objective of establishing an ASEAN Community with three key pillars of ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

In 2005, the first East Asia Summit (EAS) took place in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur with the participation of leaders from ASEAN member nations, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2007, the leaders of the 10 ASEAN member nations signed the ASEAN Charter at the 13th ASEAN Summit in November, creating legal foundation and institution framework for strengthening the regional connectivity and for the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015. The ASEAN Charter took effect on December 15, 2008.

In 2009, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was born.

In February 2009, the bloc approved the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015) and the master plans for building the three key pillars together with action plans for the Initiative ASEAN Integration phase 2 in the 2008-2015 period.

In 2010, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) was adopted at the 17th ASEAN Summit, with concrete measures to realise the ASEAN connectivity in infrastructure, institution and people.
In 2010, Vietnam also successfully accomplished its role as Chair of ASEAN.

In 2011, the Bali declaration on ASEAN Community in a global community of nations (Bali Concord 3) is adopted, reaffirming the regional bloc’s commitment to build a common viewpoint in responding to global issues, enhance its role in international mechanisms such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for the maintain of peace, stability and development in the region.

In 2015, the ASEAN member leaders signed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration at the 27 th ASEAN Summit Meeting in November on the establishment of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015. They approved the master plan for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025 and also agreed on the 2015-post ASEAN Community Vision in 2016-2025.

On December 31, 2015, the ASEAN Community is born.