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Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Flag of the ASEAN

ASEAN members
English name Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Organization type Regional cooperation
Seat of the organs Jakarta , IndonesiaIndonesiaIndonesia 
Chair changing annually
Secretary General BruneiBrunei Lim Jock Hoi
Member States 10 :
surface 4,480,331 km², of which
mainland: 2,071,452 km²
population 611 million (2013)
Population density 135.5 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product US $ 2,412 billion
(estimate, 2013)
Gross domestic product per inhabitant 3,974 US $
(estimate, 2013)
founding August 8, 1967
(Bangkok Treaty)
anthem The ASEAN Way
Time zone UTC + 6: 30 to UTC + 9
Subsidiary organizations

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations , or ASEAN for short ( German pronunciation [ ˈaːzean ]; English pronunciation [ ˈæzɪən ], from English Association of Southeast Asian Nations ), is an international organization of Southeast Asian countries based in Jakarta.

The original aim was to improve economic, political and social cooperation. Later the field of activity expanded to include security, cultural and environmental issues. In September 2009 the heads of state and government of the ASEAN members decided to create a common economic area modeled on the EU.

Over the years, other organizations have been established: the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) for security issues, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) to promote trade, the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) to promote mutual direct investment, and others.

The forerunner of the organizational community was the Association of Southeast Asia , ASA (1961–1967). After a phase of stagnation and the fall of Sukarno in September 1965, it was reawakened, but on an Indonesian initiative and while maintaining the structures and the security concept, it was finally transferred to the more intensive alliance of ASEAN.

Member States

ASEAN was founded in 1967 by Thailand , Indonesia , Malaysia , the Philippines and Singapore . The aim was to promote the economic upturn, social progress and political stability. The economic opening policy was soon successful and some member states are now among the so-called tiger and panther states .

The Sultanate of Brunei has also been a member since 1984 and Papua New Guinea has acted as an observer since then. Vietnam (1995), Myanmar and Laos (1997) and Cambodia (1999) joined in the 1990s .

East Timor , also with observer status, submitted a previously unanswered application for membership in 2006.

Today ASEAN comprises ten member states with over 600 million inhabitants (around 8% of the world population ) and an area of ​​just under 4.5 million km² (around 1% of the earth's surface ). This means that their dimensions are comparable to those of the EU . In 2013, the gross regional product (joint GDP ) was around 2.4 trillion US dollars , which, however, was many times higher in the EU. The average growth rate of GDP is around 5.3% annually. Indonesia is a heavyweight in ASEAN with a population of around 40% and a GDP share of around 70% of the total, while Laos - the only landlocked country in the Community, Cambodia and Myanmar are in many respects at the bottom. In addition, Singapore is regarded as a global financial metropolis and, due to its high level of prosperity, in some cases already as an industrial nation. B. almost 500 international meetings take place annually.

History and contracts

  • In the first few years ASEAN was more of a place of informal exchange, only later did it become more active. Sun, founded in 1954 fulfilled SEATO ( English South East Asia Treaty Organization ), a military alliance for the Southeast Asian region, the cherished by the US expectations inadequate and soon led only an illusory existence, was dissolved until the 1977th
  • The ASPAC, founded in 1966 ( English Asian and Pacific Council ) with Southeast and East Asian countries as well as Australia and New Zealand had little impact and was also dissolved in 1973.
  • The establishment on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok was the first foreign policy success of the then new Indonesian President Suharto . ASEAN was a reaction to the Vietnam War (1964–1975) and was clearly designed against the Eastern Bloc and the Communist People's Republic of China from the start . The preamble to the Bangkok Declaration can be summarized as follows:

"[...] the states of Southeast Asia share a fundamental responsibility for strengthening the economic and social stability of the region and for ensuring peaceful development of the countries, and they are determined to ensure their stability and security against external influences of any kind or propaganda."

- Michael Leifer : Dictionary of the modern politics of South-Asia
  • In 1971 the “Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality” ( ZOPFAN ) was finally established. The first Bali summit was shaped by the success of communist groups in Southeast Asia . It was therefore important to show solidarity and collective awareness, especially after ASEAN had not made more than unconvincing demands for economic and socio-political cooperation for over ten years. At the summit, the ASEAN Secretariat (in Jakarta ) was set up and the “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” (TAC) was concluded, which provided for mutual consultations on disputed issues and meant a certain degree of openness to other countries in the region. This represented an offer for revolutionary states like Vietnam to behave according to international law. Initially, the treaty met with little interest, but after the Cold War was over , states such as Vietnam and Laos expressed interest in working together. In a declaration on the unity of ASEAN , the aim was to promote stability in the member countries and in Southeast Asia, which ZOPFAN was once again confirmed.
  • From 1986 Vietnam introduced economic reforms and with the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the development rigidity also dissolved in the rest of Southeast Asia .
  • In 1994 the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was set up to discuss security issues. At the Bangkok summit in December 1995 it was decided to set up the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) by 2003 .
  • On December 15, 1995, the "Treaty on a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Southeast Asia" (SEANWFZ) was signed. In 2001 it finally came into force after the Philippines had signed it.
  • From 1995 to 1999 Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia were admitted to ASEAN. After that, a revised common flag was introduced, with ten panicles of rice symbolizing the member countries.
  • In 1997 the ASEAN countries were hit hard by the Asian economic and financial crisis . Overcoming this crisis was the main topic of the 6th summit on December 15 and 16, 1998 in Hanoi (Vietnam), at which it was also stated that the establishment of the free trade area should be accelerated.
  • In 2002 an agreement was reached on “air pollution control in Southeast Asia”. In the following years, extensive forest fires with enormous air pollution broke out in Malaysia in 2005 and across Southeast Asia in 2006 .
  • In 2003, ASEAN emphasized at its meeting in Bali that democracy strengthens peace and stability in the region. The non-democratically run governments also agreed.
  • The 10th summit on November 29 and 30, 2004 in Vientiane (Laos) dealt with the rising oil price and the dangers of terrorism . The importance of "Vision 2020" was reaffirmed, which envisages a more far-reaching development of ASEAN by 2020 based on the EU model .
  • In 2005, ASEAN established a wildlife protection network and an Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate .
  • In 2006 ASEAN received observer status at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).
  • In November 2007 an agreement was reached on the draft of a fundamental charter which obliges the individual member states to uphold democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Nuclear weapons are therefore prohibited in the ASEAN area. The principle of non-interference in the affairs of other members is adhered to. However, this neutrality has been heavily criticized in the case of the bloodily suppressed demonstrations in Myanmar . On November 20, 2007, the charter was adopted at the ASEAN summit in Singapore .
  • In 2012, ASEAN adopted a controversial human rights declaration at the Phnom Penh summit on November 18. Among other things, it provides for the ability to intervene if national security is at risk (especially in Myanmar , Cambodia or Vietnam ).
  • On November 22, 2015, the member states decided to found the Asean Economic Community (AEC). This foundation is unlikely to have any concrete consequences for the time being; it is seen as a predominantly symbolic step on the way to a single market with free movement of goods and capital and free movement of workers. This internal market should be achieved by the end of 2015.
  • On November 15, 2020, signing of the RCEP free trade agreement .

Key figures and facts

highlighted in green The best value in each column
Highlighted in red The worst value in each column
Member State GDP per capita in US $
(2016 a )
Economic growth (BIP 2012 to 2013 a ) Trade balance-balance in billion US $ (2011) State debt ratio in% (2013 a ) Work non-quote (2011 a ) Corruption Index ( 2013) CO₂ emissions per capita and year (2010 a ) Electricity consumption per capita per year (2011 a ) Internet
(2012 b )
Roads -quality rate (2012 c ) Human Development Index (2012) Military expenditure (share of GDP) (2012) Health expenditure per capita in US $ (2018) Member State
BruneiBrunei Brunei 26,424 1.45% 5,294 0 2.6% 60 22.96 t 8,295 kWh 119.0 80.1% 0.855 2.43% 763 BruneiBrunei Brunei
CambodiaCambodia Cambodia 1,230 7.02% −1.040 28 0.0% 20th 0.30 t 182 kWh 0.9 6.3% 0.543 1.54% 90 CambodiaCambodia Cambodia
IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 3,604 5.30% 1,685 22nd 6.1% 32 1.81 t 665 kWh 5.4 57.0% 0.629 0.78% 112 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia
LaosLaos Laos 1.925 8.35% −1,262 52 2.5% 26th 0.30 t 380 kWh 0.2 1.3% 0.543 0.23% 57 LaosLaos Laos
MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia 9,360 4.70% 33,474 54 3.0% 50 7.63 t 3,953 kWh 14.3 80.4% 0.769 1.55% 427 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia
MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar 1,269 6.82% −1,338 40 5.4% 21 0.19 t 110 kWh <0.1 - 0.498 - 59 MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar
PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 2,924 6.81% 7.125 40 7.0% 36 0.87 t 616 kWh 4.0 25.6% 0.654 1.19% 136 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines
SingaporeSingapore Singapore 52,961 3.54% 5,184 103 1.9% 86 2.66 t 7,836 kWh 359.0 100.0% 0.895 3.52% 2,824 SingaporeSingapore Singapore
ThailandThailand Thailand 5,899 3.11% 5,889 46 0.7% 35 4.27 t 2,437 kWh 5.0 - 0.690 1.47% 276 ThailandThailand Thailand
VietnamVietnam Vietnam 2.173 5.30% 0.233 51 3.2% 31 1.71 t 1,136 kWh 2.1 71.8% 0.617 2.37% 152 VietnamVietnam Vietnam
ASEAN + 3 d ASEAN + 3 d
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China China 8,113 7.60% 136.097 20th 6.4% 40 6.18 t 3,669 kWh 15.3 84.1% 0.699 1.99% China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China China
JapanJapan Japan 38,917 1.95% 119,304 245 4.1% 74 9.25 t 6,788 kWh 506.5 80.4% 0.912 0.99% JapanJapan Japan
Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 27,539 2.84% 26,068 32 3.2% 55 11.78 t 8,990 kWh 6.5 79.3% 0.909 2.80% Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea
more d e more d e |
Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong 43,528 2.98% 12,908 31 3.1% 75 5.15 t 6,350 kWh 122.9 100.0% 0.906 (see China) Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong
MacauMacau Macau (see China) (see China) (see China) (see China) 1.9% (see China) 3.10 t 7,228 kWh 0.6 100.0% 0.868
(see China) MacauMacau Macau
East TimorEast Timor East Timor 2,102 8.05% 2,340 - - 30th 0.16 t 60 kWh 0.2 43.0% 0.576 2.92% East TimorEast Timor East Timor
TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 22,453 2.19% 41,230 41 4.1% 61 14.30 t 10,365 kWh 269.2 98.9% 0.890 1.9% f TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan
a Estimates
b Internet guests per 1,000 inhabitants
c Proportion of paved in total road network length
d Used for comparison
e Some data were not collected separately for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau or the corresponding responsibilities fall on China.
f Data from 2015

Fields of activity

Structure and structure

Core competencies

GDP (PPP) comparison (IMF, 2018, top 10, unordered)

ASEAN is an interest group that makes decisions by consensus. The highest body is the annual ASEAN Summit . The chairmanship of the ASEAN summit and the ministerial conferences changes annually among the member states in alphabetical order.

The most important body is the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, headed by a Secretary General .

In the meantime, 19 different ministerial meetings are held at which common strategies are developed. Important meetings are those of the Ministers for Economic Affairs (AEM), Foreign Ministers (AMM) and Finance Ministers (AFMM). These national actors are supported by 29 committees of senior officials and 122 working groups on the various policy areas in which non-governmental organizations are represented. The number of actors who can at least marginally influence decisions has thus been increased. New policy fields are about to be better coordinated on an interregional basis through ASEAN (e.g. education).

The ASEAN cooperation also supports regional cooperation , but this is more characterized by a downward process than regional participation. The ASEAN Secretariat is supposed to play a moderating role in setting the agenda, comparable to the task of the European Commission , but its competencies are limited. Negotiations continue at the intergovernmental level. The relinquishment of sovereignty is problematic due to the colonial past. Instead, the principle of the ASEAN Way is pursued: decision-making by consensus and strict neutrality towards the internal affairs of another state.

An approach to multilevel governance (as in the EU) has been discernible in recent years: the expansion of competencies and actors as well as the creation of new opportunities for cooperation. Basically, however, there is a lack of supranational decision-making and greater involvement of non-state actors in political, cross-level decision-making processes.


Under the name "ASEAN Economic Community" (ASEAN Economic Community) AEC, abbreviated, a series of agreements and initiatives are summarized, strong with the help of economic integration and reduction of trade barriers should be promoted between the Member States to promote the prosperity of the region. The basic lines are summarized in the 1998 “Hanoi Action Plan(Ha Noi Action Plan) .

The main components are:


The spectrum of integratively promoted culture ranges from sport to education to literary prizes.

This includes:

  • ASEAN University Network (AUN) was founded in 1995 by 11 universities in the ASEAN countries and in 2007 comprised 21 universities.
  • ASAIHL (Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning) is a non-governmental organization founded in 1956 to promote higher education
  • ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award
  • ASEAN Scholarship ( English ASEAN Scholarship ), sponsored by Singapore
  • ASEAN Center (Engl. Biodiversity ASEAN Center for Biodiversity )
  • ASEAN Nature Parks (English Heritage Parks ) is a list of important nature parks that was first created in 1984 and updated in 2004. It includes 35 parks.
  • SEA Write Award , an important literary prize
  • Soccer Southeast Asian Cup and ASEAN Football Federation

An application is also planned to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup together .

ASEAN summit

After a nine-year founding and establishment phase, the first summit took place in Bali from February 23 to 24, 1976 . The atmosphere was one of solidarity and a common understanding in the face of the successes of regional revolutionary communism in Indochina . The previously unconvincing declarations on economic and social cooperation were further developed in a declaration of conformity in ASEAN (Declaration of ASEAN Concord) on goals such as political stability in the member states and in Southeast Asia as a whole. With the ZOPFAN , the participants created an opportunity for peaceful settlement of regional conflicts. They also opened up to communist-ruled states in the region, which initially met with little counter-interest, but led to progress after the end of the Cold War . At the third summit, a five-year cycle was agreed. At the next meeting (the fourth), a three-year cycle was introduced. The annual cycle has been in effect since 2001. The ASEAN Summit has been held twice a year since 2009. The host countries change in alphabetical order. The host countries also chair ASEAN. The alphabetical order was changed in 2010. So Brunei, actually the host in 2011, exchanged with Indonesia. The reason for this was the planned elections in Indonesia in 2013. In 2014, contrary to the alphabetical order, Myanmar was supposed to host and chair the ASEAN Summits.

A formal ASEAN summit lasts three days and has the following sequence:

  • the heads of state discuss internal ASEAN matters,
  • the heads of state meet with the foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum,
  • the heads of state of ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN + 3) meet,
  • the heads of state of ASEAN and the dialogue partners Australia and New Zealand meet (ASEAN-CER).

Informal meetings have been held between the formal summits since 1997 as needed. At the beginning of April 2009 the summit in Pattaya, Thailand had to be canceled after hundreds of protesters critical of the government stormed the conference venue. The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva then declared a state of emergency in parts of the country.

A poster in Jakarta welcomes the delegates to the ASEAN summit in May 2011.
ASEAN summit
# date Country location
01 23–24 February 1976 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Bali
02 4th to 5th August 1977 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
03 14.-15. December 1987 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines Manila
04th 27.-29. January 1992 SingaporeSingapore Singapore Singapore
05 14.-15. December 1995 ThailandThailand Thailand Bangkok
1. November 30, 1996 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Jakarta
2. 14.-16. December 1997 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
06th 15-16 December 1998 VietnamVietnam Vietnam Hanoi
3. 27.-28. November 1999 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines Manila
4th 22-25 November 2000 SingaporeSingapore Singapore Singapore
07th 5th-6th November 2001 BruneiBrunei Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
08th 4th to 5th November 2002 CambodiaCambodia Cambodia Phnom Penh
09 7th-8th October 2003 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Bali
10 29.-30. November 2004 LaosLaos Laos Vientiane
11 12-14 December 2005 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
12th 9-15 January 2007 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines Cebu
13th 18.-22. November 2007 SingaporeSingapore Singapore Singapore
14th February 26–1. March 2009
10th - 12th April 2009
ThailandThailand Thailand Cha-am
15th 23-25 October 2009 ThailandThailand Thailand Cha-am
16 8th-9th April 2010 VietnamVietnam Vietnam Hanoi
17th 28–31 October 2010 VietnamVietnam Vietnam Hanoi
18th 7th-8th May 2011 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Jakarta
19th 21-23 October 2011 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Bali
20th 3-4 April 2012 CambodiaCambodia Cambodia Phnom Penh
21 18. – 20. November 2012 CambodiaCambodia Cambodia Phnom Penh
22nd 24.-25. April 2013 BruneiBrunei Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
23 9-10 October 2013 BruneiBrunei Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
24 10-11 May 2014 MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar Naypyidaw
25th 10-13 November 2014 MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar Naypyidaw
26th 26.-27. April 2015 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi
27 18.-22. November 2015 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
28 +
6-8 September 2016 LaosLaos Laos Vientiane
30th 26.-29. April 2017 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines Metro Manila
31 13-14 November 2017 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines Pampanga
32 25.-28. April 2018 SingaporeSingapore Singapore Singapore
33 11-15 November 2018 SingaporeSingapore Singapore Singapore
34 22-23 June 2019 ThailandThailand Thailand -
35 October 31st – 5th November 2019 ThailandThailand Thailand -
36 June 26, 2020 (video conference) VietnamVietnam Vietnam Hanoi
37 13.-15. November 2020 (video conference) VietnamVietnam Vietnam Hanoi
  1. a b c d Informal meeting
  2. postponed from December 10, 2006 due to Typhoon Seniang.
  3. Host changed because Myanmar resigned as host due to pressure from the European Union and the USA.
  4. Canceled on April 11, 2009 due to local unrest.

15th ASEAN Summit 2009

After the 14th summit in Pattaya in April 2009 had to be canceled due to violent demonstrations - many top politicians had fled the conference venue - an alternative date for the annual summit for the weekend of 23-25 ​​was set in autumn. Scheduled for October 2009. The meeting then took place in the beach town of Cha-am 180 km south of Bangkok , which this time was secured by around 18,000 police and military personnel. In addition to the ten ASEAN member states, the heads of government of the dialogue partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were invited, as was customary recently.

One topic of the 2009 annual conference was the global financial crisis . The main topic, however, remained the future merger to form a union based on the European model . Customs hurdles should fall in Southeast Asia as early as 2015 , which political observers, however, viewed as far too optimistic. Neither the economy nor some governments seem ready for the necessary compromises and legislative reforms. The creation of free trade zones with the dialogue partners was planned for 2013, but there are still numerous problem areas.

One of the obstacles to integration is the self-imposed principle of non-interference. There is silence on the human rights issue in China, as well as on Myanmar's military dictatorship and the 2006 coup in Thailand . Controversial debates are avoided as much as possible, and the biennial Asia-Europe summit ASEM , agreed with the EU in 1996 , is regarded as "fair weather events". The once proud “ panther states ” have lost the momentum of the 1990s, and so the ASEAN leaders are trying to gain weight by including major powers such as China, India and Japan and to make their profile more “people-oriented”. The discontinuation of the heads of state's traditional golf tournament during the meeting is a first sign of this.

Dialogue partner

The ASEAN states maintain good contacts with their so-called dialogue partners (alphabetically): Australia , the People's Republic of China, the European Union , India , Japan , Canada , South Korea , New Zealand , Russia and the United States . Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with the foreign ministers of the dialogue partners take place on a regular basis following the ASEAN foreign ministerial meetings.

The contacts with the USA , Japan and Australia initially served as a counterweight to the regional power China , but now - with the involvement of Canada and New Zealand - also for a larger-scale Pacific cooperation. The EU, in turn, is the most prestigious pioneer for the planned integration of the ASEAN countries. On the other hand, the stronger relations with China, India and South Korea are motivated by regional policy . In 1997, after the failure of the ASEAN- APEC talks, they resulted in the establishment of ASEAN + 3 and are also intended to prepare future free trade zones .

Since 1996, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) has also held regular meetings with the heads of state of the EU states , China, Japan , South Korea and the ASEAN states. With their investments, the large companies in Japan and South Korea have contributed to the strong economic growth in the ASEAN countries, which is why the majority of them repeatedly express their desire to allow Japan and South Korea to join the federal government. So far, however, Japan and Korea themselves have not shown any initiative in this direction.

In 2005, the first East Asia Summit took place in Kuala Lumpur , in which, in addition to the ASEAN + 3 countries , India , Australia and New Zealand also took part. A further development to an East Asian community is being planned. On August 26, 2007 ASEAN announced that it would conclude the free trade agreements with China, Japan , South Korea , India, Australia and New Zealand by 2013 and that it wanted to realize the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. For a free trade agreement with South Korea and Japan, the agricultural sector in particular was a contentious issue. South Korea had already agreed in advance to a free trade agreement that excludes the most important agricultural goods , while Japan pursued the strategy of initially concluding bilateral agreements with individual ASEAN member states.

On January 1, 2010, the first of the free trade zones planned with the ASEAN + 3 countries between the People's Republic of China and ASEAN was established, which is the third largest in the world after EFTA and NAFTA . Further free trade zones with Japan and South Korea were planned until 2012.

Most ASEAN member states also participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC ) founded in 1989 and the East Asia-Latin America Forum ( EALAF ) founded in 1999 .


Integration problems

One of the most striking differences to the EU is the large number of member states, as half of them alone have a population of over 50 million, which can conceivably inhibit mutual alignment. Another main problem for integrative measures is the disparity between the states, on the one hand with regard to the economy and socio-cultural conditions, and on the other hand with regard to different political systems .

ASEAN includes countries that have a relatively high per capita income , such as the city-state Singapore or Brunei, as well as infrastructural weak nations such as the "CLMV" (so to speak, contrary to the panther states ). Another, sometimes large, divergence exists within the heterogeneous countries. This is particularly large between the urban and rural areas.

From a political point of view, the spectrum of state leaderships includes the young democracies of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the constitutional monarchies of Cambodia and Thailand, the authoritarian state of Singapore, the communist one-party systems of Vietnam and Laos, and the absolute monarchy of Brunei and the military junta in Myanmar. The domestic politics of the countries repeatedly reveals conflicts. For example the protests of the monks in Myanmar in 2007 or the protests and riots in Thailand in 2008 and 2010.

There is also a great variety of religions. Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are predominantly Buddhist ( Theravada ) influenced, whereby Vietnam also has a large population of atheists. Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia are predominantly Islamic - Indonesia is the state with the largest Muslim population in the world. Rather apart from that, the Philippines are predominantly Catholic or Christian.

In addition, there are significant religious and ethnic minorities in all countries who are integrated in very different ways. Islamist groups and kidnappings are causing unrest among the Muslim population in the south of the Philippines. Even among Muslims in the south of Thailand, groups repeatedly revolt. The mainland "hill tribes" in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar were mostly ignored or neglected by the state. Their culture is now being promoted in Thailand, but there are still riots in Vietnam. Indonesia has several minority conflicts. East Timor finally declared its independence in 2002, but unrest has broken out there since 2006. In the north of Sumatra, the province of Aceh is increasingly striving for autonomy; in the east of the island chain, in the Indonesian part of New Guinea, the Papuan people feel oppressed. A majority of Chinese in Singapore live peacefully with Malay and Indians, not least because of strict laws and the protection of minorities.

The anchoring of human rights protection in the 2007 ASEAN Charter was a great success, but only came about after tough negotiations and is thanks to the democracies of the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. Malaysia also switched to the camp of human rights advocates after the resignation of Prime Minister Mahatir . With the ratification as the last states, Indonesia and the Philippines wanted to put pressure on Burma to release Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi . The only vote against in the Philippine Senate was justified by this.

Interstate conflicts in the region

In Southeast Asia, the spheres of influence of India and China collided in earlier centuries .

Historically conditioned hostilities existed between individual states, for example between Thailand and Burma or Vietnam and Cambodia . Later, with the exception of Thailand, all Southeast Asian countries became colonies of the European powers Portugal , Spain , the Netherlands , Great Britain , France and, peripherally, Germany . In the Second World War, all states came under Japanese rule again , with the exception of Thailand, an ally of Japan .

After the end of the Second World War , France tried unsuccessfully in Vietnam (1946-1954) and the Netherlands in Indonesia to reestablish their rule by force. Besides Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and (as a US base) Thailand were involved in the Vietnam War (1964–1975). In 1979 Vietnam invaded Cambodia to crush the Pol Pot regime. As a result, China declared war on Vietnam in the same year , and there were further incidents until 1987. In 1989, Vietnam withdrew from Cambodia.

Conflicts are still breaking out between member states. In 2008 shootings broke out on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. ASEAN is not yet equipped with such powers that it could prevent such border disputes from escalating. Conversely, however, it is very likely that the existence of ASEAN led to a more rapid containment of the violence. Since the rise of China, the residents of the South China Sea have been confronted with an increasingly self-confident neighbor. China claims the Spratly Islands , to which various ASEAN countries - in some cases overlapping - claims. In June 2020, ASEAN published the following statement at the 36th ASEAN Summit: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was "the basis for determining maritime claims, sovereignty, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over sea zones, and UNCLOS of 1982 lays the foundation establishes the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. "

See also


Web links

Commons : Association of Southeast Asian Nations  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: ASEAN  - on the news
Wiktionary: ASEAN  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. DSW Report 2013 - country database , accessed on March 8, 2014.
  2. List of countries according to gross domestic product
  3. The ASEAN Way - Anthem
  4. ^ John C. Wells : Longman Pronunciation Dictionary . Beijing: The Commercial Press, 2005; ISBN 7-100-04292-5 , p. 45.
  5. ^ Summit of the ASEAN States - An Economic Union for Southeast Asia. (No longer available online.) In: October 25, 2009, archived from the original on October 28, 2009 ; accessed on October 19, 2019 .
  6. ^ East Timor ASEAN bid. In: . July 23, 2006, accessed November 10, 2019
  7. Guidelines on the Use of the ASEAN Anthem , accessed March 3, 2007.
  8. Singapore Special - "This is where economic activity is made the easiest". Page 3 of 3: "Singapore is the most developed country in Southeast Asia". In: . 2014, accessed October 4, 2020.
  9. International Meeting in Singapore , accessed February 27, 2014.
  10. ^ The great Ploetz, Verlag Herder, Freiburg 1998, p. 1755.
  11. ^ Michael Leifer: Dictionary of the Modern Politics of South-East Asia . Routledge, 1996, ISBN 0-415-13821-3 , section: Bangkok Declaration (ASEAN) 1967 (English).
  12. ^ Michael Leifer: Dictionary of the modern politics of South-Asia . London: Routledge 1996, ISBN 0-415-13821-3 . Article: "Bali Summit (ASEAN) 1976".
  13. Multilateral Arms Regulation and Disarmament Agreements ( Memento of April 24, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Bangkok Treaty, accessed September 4, 2008.
  14. Guidelines on the Use of the ASEAN Anthem ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution; Accessed October 12, 2006.
  15. ^ Tim Luard: Asean: Changing, but only slowly. In: . October 8, 2003, accessed August 28, 2020.
  16. ASEAN Statement on Launching of the ASEAN Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN)
  17. RP resolution for observer status in UN assembly OK'd - October 26, 2006 ( Memento of February 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Draft ASEAN charter calls for human rights body, upholds noninterference policy ( Memento of February 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Reported in the International Herald Tribune; November 8, 2007.
  19. Charter adopted at ASEAN summit. In: . December 4, 2007, accessed October 26, 2020.
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