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ASEAN-Korea Centre

Organization Activities News & Media Resources


Association of Southeast Asian Nations

  • Member States (10 countries)

  • Dialogue partners

    • Dialogue Partners

      Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, United States, UK

    • Non-Country Dialogue Partner

      United Nations

    • Sectoral Dialogue Partner

      Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey, Brazil, UAE

    • Development Partner

      Chile, France, Italy, Germany

    ※ France and Italy acquired Development Partner status in September 2020 during the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Facts on ASEAN (2021)

  • Population

    673 million

  • Land area

    4.48 million ㎢

  • GDP

    US$ 3.3458 trillion

  • Trade

    US$ 3.3467 trillion
    - Export: US$ 1.7414 trillion
    - Import: US$ 1.6053 trillion

※ Sources: Population, land area, GDP, trade (World Bank, IMF)

Main bodies and structure

  • Body Purpose and function Frequency


    Supreme decision-making body

    Inaugural Summit held in February 1976

    Held twice a year following entry into force of the ASEAN Charter

    Coordinating Council

    Composed of Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States, the Coordinating Council coordinates the overall programs of ASEAN including key policy decisions

    Held twice a year

    Community Council

    Composed of Political-security Community Council, Economic Community Council, and Socio-cultural Community Council


    Sectoral Ministerial Bodies

    42 Minister-level meetings:

    APSC Council-7 bodies including ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

    AEC Council-16 bodies including ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM), ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting (M-ATM)

    ASCC Council-19 bodies including ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting on Environment (AMME), ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting (AHMM)

    Varies depending on each sector

    Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR)

    Supports work of Community Councils and sectoral ministerial meetings

    Held both regularly and on ad-hoc basis

    National Secretariats

    Established in the Foreign Ministry of the ASEAN Member States, the National Secretariat serves as the main channel of communication among ASEAN Member States and a national hub for ASEAN-related information


    Committees Abroad

    Established in 21 countries including the 10 dialogue partners, the ASEAN Committee is composed of the Ambassadors of the 10 ASEAN Member States

    In Korea, there is the ASEAN Committee in Seoul (ACS)

    ASEAN Secretariat

    Coordinates and supports activities related to ASEAN’s policies and programs, organizes and prepares reports for ministerial meetings, maintains relations with external partners and publishes materials

    ※ located in Jakarta, Indonesia (established on February 1976)

    ※ Secretary-General is appointed at the Summit based on the recommendation of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and is chosen among government officials/scholars of ASEAN Member States


Secretary-General of ASEAN

  • Name

    Kao Kim Hourn



    • 2001 Ph.D. in Political Science (US)​
    • 1991 M.A. in Political Science, M.A. in International Affairs (US)​
    • 1989 B.A. in Asian Studies (US)​




    • 2023 Secretary General of ASEAN​
    • 2013 Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister of Cambodia​
    • 2004 Secretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperations of Cambodia ​
    • 2001 Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperations of Cambodia​
    • 1999 Member of the Supreme National Economic Council of Cambodia​
    • 1996 Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperations of Cambodia​


Establishment and Development of ASEAN

  • Establishment of ASEAN

    • Regional integration efforts including the successful launch of the European Economic Community in the late 1950s led to the creation of the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) in July 1961 by Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia to promote regional cooperation and deter communist expansion.
    • With the deterioration of regional security in the mid-1960s due to the Vietnam War and China's Cultural Revolution and changes in the political landscape following the independence of Singapore (1965.8) and the seizure of power by Suharto after a coup in Indonesia (1965.9), calls were made for the expansion of the ASA.
    • Indonesia and Singapore joined the ASA in Bangkok on August 8, 1967, and the five founding countries declared the creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN / Bangkok Declaration) and officially launched the organization.
    • Following its independence in January of 1984, Brunei joined as the 6th member of ASEAN.
  • Development of ASEAN

    Cooperation in Non-political Areas (Establishment - early 1970s)

    • In the early days of its establishment, cooperation was centered on non-political areas and the ASEAN Fund was created in December 1969 for this purpose.
    • In November 1971, ASEAN Member States adopted the the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration (ZOPFAN) in response to the changes in the regional security environment following the Nixon Doctrin and the Sino-American rapprochement.

    Strengthening Regional Cooperation including in Political Areas (late 1970s-1980s)

    • In February 1976, the first ASEAN Summit was held and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord which emphasized political and economic cooperation and unity among the member states was adopted. Members also signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and established the ASEAN Secretariat laying the foundations for the development of the regional organization.
    • In February 1977, cooperation was further expanded with the conclusion of the Basic Agreement on ASEAN Industrial Project (AIP) and Agreement on ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTA). Also, ASEAN established dialogue partnerships with external partners such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the United States.

    Expansion and Development of Regional Community (1990s~)

    • In response to the changes in the international environment such as the end of the Cold War and the Uruguay Round trade negotiations, ASEAN expanded its membership to include socialist countries in the region and agreed on establishing the ASEAN Free Trade Area in January 1992.
    • In July 1994, ASEAN took initiative in organizing the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the only multilateral security consultative body in the region, with the aim of building trust and promoting peace and stability in the region.
    • In 1997, ASEAN consolidated efforts to overcome the economic crisis triggered by the financial crisis in Thailand which led to the acceleration of regional economic integration.
    • In 1997, during the second Informal ASEAN Summit, leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 which includes provisions on the expansion of ASEAN membership and commitment for regional integration through the launch of the ASEAN Community.
  • Towards the Launch of the ASEAN Community in 2015 (2000~)

    Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II)

    • At the 9th ASEAN Summit in October 2003, leaders agreed to establish the political-security, economic and social-cultural communities by 2020 and adopted the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II to establish the ASEAN Community comprising the three pillars.

      - ASEAN Security Community: aimed to bring ASEAN’s political and security cooperation to a higher plane based on confidence building, preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution measures stipulated in the TAC.

      - ASEAN Economic Community: aimed to create a single market in which there is free flow of goods, services, and capital, and expand cooperation in financial policies and development of human resources.

      - ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community: envisaged a Southeast Asia bonded together in partnership on issues of population, education and disease prevention as a community of caring societies.

    Vientiane Action Programme

    • At the 10th ASEAN Summit in November 2004, leaders adopted the Vientiane Action Programme to narrow the development gap among the member states and facilitate regional integration.

      - Agreed on removal of tariffs on eleven priority sectors including automotive and agro-based products by 2007 (by 2012 for CLMV).

    • Follow-up measures were carried out through relevant ministerial meetings.

    Cebu Declaration

    • At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007, the leaders adopted the  Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

      - The establishment of the ASEAN Community comprising three pillars by 2020 was to be expedited to 2015.

    ASEAN Charter

    • ASEAN Member States adopted the ASEAN Charter which provides the institutional framework of ASEAN and emphasizes the centrality of ASEAN in regional cooperation.

      - The Charter was signed at the ASEAN Summit held in Singapore in November 2007 and came into effect on December 15, 2008.

    ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

    • At the 21st ASEAN Summit in November 2012, the leaders adopted the first institutional framework in ASEAN on human rights protection.

      - It was a meaningful progress in the protection and promotion of human rights in the region as the Declaration provided a framework for establishing national action plans and for cooperation among regions and sectors.

      ※ In 2009, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights was established.

    Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR)

    • With the growing central role of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the daily operations of ASEAN, member states appointed permanent representatives to ASEAN following the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter.

      - The Permanent Missions of ASEAN Members States to ASEAN are in Jakarta where the ASEAN Secretariat is located.

      - The CPR supports the 3 ASEAN Community Councils and the ministerial-level consultative bodies of all sectors as well as promotes cooperation with dialogue partners.

      - Also, establishment and operation of various ambassadorial consultative bodies are led by the CPR including the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) and the EAS Ambassadors' Meeting in Jakarta (EAMJ).

    Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for the ASEAN Community

    • At the 14th ASEAN Summit in February 2009, leaders adopted the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for the ASEAN Community.

      - The Roadmap, which replaced the Vientiane Action Programme, consists of blueprints for the 3 communities—Political-Security Community Blueprint, Economic Community Blueprint, Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint—as well as the second phase (Work Plan II) of the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) (2009-2015).

    Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on Realisation of the ASEAN Community

    • At the 24th ASEAN Summit in May 2014, leaders adopted the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on Realisation of the ASEAN Community reaffirming their political commitment for ASEAN integration.

      ※ The date of establishment of the ASEAN Community was rescheduled from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.

      - (Political-security pillar) Leaders reaffirmed the key principles including unity, ASEAN’s central role in maintaining regional peace and stability, rule of law, promotion of human rights, peaceful resolution of conflict, and ASEAN centrality in regional mechanisms.

      - (Economic pillar) Leaders expressed commitment to implementing the initiatives necessary for the realization of the ASEAN Community.

        ▶ Emphasis was put on ASEAN single market and production base, ASEAN Single Aviation Market Agreement, ASEAN Single Shipping Market Agreement, FTAs with dialogue partners and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

      - (Socio-Cultural pillar) Leaders emphasized the need to increase public awareness of the ASEAN Community, empowerment of vulnerable groups including women, adolescents, children, and the disabled, and enhance capacity on dealing with environmental issues, disaster management and emergency response.

    Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on the ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision

    • At the 25th ASEAN Summit in November 2014, leaders adopted the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on the ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision to consolidate cooperation after the launch of the ASEAN Community.

    Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025

    • At the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015, the leaders adopted the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together and reemphasized the key elements of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

      ※ The ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint 2025, the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 were also adopted as annex documents of the Declaration.

      - The ASEAN Community, launched in December 2015, aims for a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible Community and emphasizes people-oriented, people-centered and rule-based community building efforts.

    Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary Of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation

    • At the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN+3 Summit in November 2017, the ASEAN+3 leaders affirmed their commitment to support the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 to pave the way towards deeper regional integration.

      - As part of community-building efforts, the ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Services as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

Source : Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, ASEAN Secretariat