• ASEAN is established in Bangkok at the height of the Vietnam War by the five original member countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • First ASEAN Summit convenes in Bali, Indonesia.
  • First ASEAN–European Economic Community ministerial meeting held in Brussels.
  • Brunei joins ASEAN.
  • ASEAN establishes the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which is focused on security interdependence in the Asia-Pacific region. Besides ASEAN member states, the present participants include Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Russian Federation and the United States.
  • Vietnam joins ASEAN.
  • First meeting of ASEAN Plus Three, comprising leaders of the 10 ASEAN members and their counterparts from East Asia – China, Japan and South Korea. Laos and Myanmar join ASEAN.
  • The two day ASEAN summit opens in Hanoi, Vietnam. Cambodia is admitted formally. The ASEAN nations approve the “Hanoi Action Plan,” a 34-point declaration that emphasized economic recovery based on free market policies.
  • Cambodia joins ASEAN.
  • The Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) is set up to help East Asian cash strapped countries defend their currencies in times of trouble. The initiative comes in response to the 1997 East Asian financial crises. ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea launch the multilateral arrangement of currency swaps (CMI).
  • China and ASEAN agree to a China-ASEAN free-trade area to be implemented in stages up to 2015.
  • First meeting of ASEAN Plus Six, also called the East Asia Summit, comprising the ASEAN countries plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
  • ASEAN signs charter giving its 10 member states a legal identity, a first step towards its aim of a free trade area by 2015.
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations moves to forge an EU-style community, signing a charter that makes the bloc a legal entity. This could pave the way for creating a single market within seven years.
  • A free-trade agreement between China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) comes into effect. The six richest members scrap tariffs on 90% of goods. The four poorest (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) will not need to cut tariffs to the same level until 2015.
  • ASEAN members and their trading partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea) begin the first round of negotiations on establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint is adopted by ASEAN leaders at the 27th ASEAN summit. This blueprint provides broad directions to achieve a highly integrated and cohesive economy; a competitive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN; enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; a resilient, inclusive, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN; and a global ASEAN.
  • ASEAN and China finish drafting a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea.


Khoman, Thanat. "ASEAN Conception and Evolution." Official ASEAN Website.

Lee, Seong Min. “ASEAN: Brief History and Its Problems”. Fall 2006.