The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to promote political and economic cooperation and regional stability. Brunei joined in 1984, shortly after its independence from the United Kingdom, and Vietnam joined ASEAN as its seventh member in 1995. Laos and Burma were admitted into full membership in July 1997 as ASEAN celebrated its 30th anniversary. Cambodia became ASEAN’s tenth member in 1999.
The ASEAN Declaration in 1967, considered ASEAN’s founding document, formalized the principles of peace and cooperation to which ASEAN is dedicated. The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN established its legal identity as an international organization and took a major step in its community-building process.
The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, the Political-Security Community, Economic Community, and Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint approved at the summit level, and, together with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan Phase II (2009-2015), they form the Roadmap for and ASEAN Community 2009-2015.
ASEAN commands far greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could achieve individually. This has driven ASEAN’s community building efforts. This work is based largely on consultation, consensus, and cooperation.