#OnThisDay (8 Aug) Formation of ASEAN
📷: Foreign Ministers of the founding ASEAN nations, ASEAN.org
#OnThisDay (8 Aug) in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed with the signing of the ASEAN declaration for regional cooperation by the Heads of State from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia joined subsequently, bringing the total member states to ten.
ASEAN was not expected to succeed – how could the world’s most culturally diverse region come together, especially when it was in conflict then? But ASEAN found ways to cooperate, carefully working through challenges in security, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, counter-terrorism and free trade. In addition to ASEAN meetings, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)/ADMM-Plus are also key avenues for dialogue.
The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia last week. The meeting had extensive discussions on recent regional and global developments, including the situation in Myanmar, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cross-strait developments. #ASEAN55
“Each of us has different ways of doing things. It is therefore vital that we should know what these ways are and why they are being done that way and not our way. A great many countries in the region have as their national slogan: Unity in diversity. It is a good slogan for ASEAN. But for this slogan to become a reality there must be greater understanding of one another. And there can be no understanding without knowledge about one another,” said S Rajaratnam, Singapore’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs and Labour, on 22 Dec 1970.
At a time of significant volatility and insecurity, it is all the more important that ASEAN states continue to come together to play a part in our region’s collective quest for security, prosperity and peace.