ASEAN At A Glance


At a glance, everyone knows that ASEAN is a regional non-governmental organization which involves the cooperation of social, cultural and economic fields. As well as, promotion of regional peace within the Southeast Asia region. But, is that really what ASEAN is all about? In actuality, ASEAN is far more than meets the eye. 

History of ASEAN

Photo showing Founding Fathers of ASEAN

ASEAN was first established on 8th August 1967 by the five founding fathers of ASEAN, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. These Foreign Ministers gathered together in the main hall of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok, Thailand to sign a document which included the Bangkok Declaration of 1967.

This all started when Thailand was negotiating reconciliation among Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia over certain conflicts. These preceding disputes became evident to the countries that a regional cooperation had to happen in order to prevent the future of the Southeast Asian region being at stake. Within a few months, Thanat Khoman, of Thailand, invited the two former members of Association for Southeast Asia (ASA), Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, for a meeting in Bangkok. And hence, ASEAN was born.

ASEAN Regional Forum and Preventive Diplomacy

Photo showing the 30th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting.

In addition to preventing future conflicts in the region, the Principles of Preventive Diplomacy was adopted in 2001 which was agreed by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The definition of it was stipulated among others to be “a consensual diplomatic and political action taken by sovereign states with consent of all directly involved parties in order to prevent disputes and conflicts from arising between ASEAN member states that could potentially pose a threat to regional peace and stability”. 

Because of this, preventive diplomacy measures could build mutual trust and confidence between member states, enhance passages of communication to provide knowledge and early warning, and facilitate dialogue. 

Three Pillars of ASEAN

Photo from an article, “Three Pillars of ASEAN Community” by ASEAN Indonesia 2023.

As a result, ASEAN’s vision was established which is to promote the cooperation among Southeast Asian countries in a peaceful, stable and prosperous manner. This vision is then realized through three pillars of the ASEAN Community:

  1. ASEAN Political-Security Community

The ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) aims to ensure regional peace, and a democratic and harmonious environment. 

  1. Economic Community 

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is the realization of the region’s end goal of economic integration. It conceptualizes ASEAN as a single market and product base, a highly competitive region, with equitable economic development, and fully integrated into the global economy. 

  1. Socio-Cultural Community 

The ASEAN Socio Cultural Community (ASCC) is all about realizing the full potential of ASEAN citizens. The ASCC Blueprint 2025 was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the 27th ASEAN Summit on 22 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


However, this is only the beginning of the ASEAN learning experience. The further intricacies of ASEAN can be extremely complex and challenging to understand. But all things considered, it is important to be cognizant of the significance ASEAN has impacted the Southeast Asian Region and follow its purpose to make our region a safe place. 


History (2024) The founding of ASEAN. 

Three Pillars of ASEAN Community. (2023, April 18). ASEAN Indonesia 2023.

ASEAN Political Security Community. (2024).

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