• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:11am


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the Asean Declaration by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development of its member states and the protection of regional peace and stability.

Southeast Asian leaders raise spectre of returning Islamic State fighters

Southeast Asian leaders have discussed with foreign leaders - including US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang - the risk of battle-hardened Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East to wreak havoc in their countries. Photo: EPA

Southeast Asian leaders have discussed with foreign leaders the risk of battle-hardened Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East to wreak havoc in their countries.

Friday, 14 November, 2014, 9:28am

US President Barack Obama to reignite reforms during Myanmar visit

US President Barack Obama signalled he would throw his political might into reigniting the democratic process. Photo: AFP

Barack Obama landed in Myanmar as it hosted its biggest gathering of world leaders since shedding junta rule, but concerns over the pace of democratic reforms surfaced immediately.

14 Nov 2014 - 9:35am

Japan announces plan for 2015 forum on 'peace building' in Asia

Abe yesterday urged countries involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from taking actions that could undermine stability in the resource-rich sea. Photo: AFP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed yesterday that Tokyo will host an event next year focusing on peace building in Asia, national reconciliation and democratisation.

14 Nov 2014 - 9:47am 4 comments

Hong Kong expects to finalise Asean free trade agreement by 2016

Gregory So, secretary for commerce and economic development, expects to finalise the trade agreements by 2016. Photo: David Wong

Hong Kong expects to have a free trade agreement with Asean economies in place by 2016, government officials said yesterday as they sketched out a timeline for progress on trade talks that began in July.

21 Oct 2014 - 6:28am

Dealing with the dragon: Asean and China trade thrives amid disputes

Illustration: Henry Wong

When China moved a 1,400-tonne oil rig into waters disputed with Vietnam on May 2, it seemed the two countries' US$50 billion trade relationship last year - 22 per cent bigger than in 2012 - was a distant consideration.

6 Oct 2014 - 9:12pm 1 comment

North Korean outreach to Southeast Asia part of regional balancing act

Ri Su-yong made stops in Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Singapore and made a debut appearance at an Asean forum.

Just as North Korea was making headlines by firing five missiles ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the South, the hermit state's foreign minister was quietly reaching out to friends in Southeast Asia.

17 Aug 2014 - 6:42am

China-Asean links set to deepen as capital flows increase

Trade and investment between China and Asean have a lot of room to deepen further. Photo: AP

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are a natural fit as trade partners. Not surprisingly, then, the links have strengthened in the last 20 years, thanks to regional trade pacts, the integration of supply chains and rising incomes.

13 Aug 2014 - 4:24am

Beijing warns all outside Asean against involvement in South China Sea disputes

Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that only Asean's declaration of conduct was relevant to how nations interacted in the South China Sea. Photo: AP

China warned that only Asean's declaration of conduct was relevant to how nations interacted in the South China Sea and any competing proposal would cause harm.

11 Aug 2014 - 7:02pm 26 comments

Asean ministers want legally binding code of conduct for South China Sea

Myanmar's Thein Sein at the opening ceremony of the Asean foreign ministers' meeting in Naypyidaw yesterday. His nation is under pressure over the pace of reforms. Photo: AP

Foreign ministers from Asean agreed yesterday on the need for a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea, at a time when China is taking a more assertive stance over its territorial claims in the region.

9 Aug 2014 - 3:28am 4 comments

Asean silence over Thai coup reflects regional needs and realities

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, army commander-in-chief and now chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order. Photo: AP

The recent military coup in Thailand that ousted the government of Yingluck Shinawatra has attracted concern and controversy.

9 Aug 2014 - 1:41am 1 comment

Any progress at Asean forum will be backstage, analysts say

The national flags of Southeast Asian nations are mirrored on the facade of the Myanmar International Convention Centre, the venue for the 47th Asean Foreign Ministers meeting and 21st Asean Regional forum in Naypyidaw on Thursday. Photo: AP

It has been called a diplomatic talking shop. But as foreign ministers gather in Myanmar for the Asean regional forum this weekend, back-door diplomacy could provide hints on how security issues are playing out in the region.

8 Aug 2014 - 3:46am

In Asia, politics stands in the way of economic integration

Asean has set up a modest fund for infrastructure, but its needs are substantial. Photo: AP

Asians are now awake to the fear of armed conflict. A recent survey of 11 Asian countries by the Pew Research Centre found that more than half of those polled expressed concerns that tensions over rocks and islets claimed by China could spill over.

23 Jul 2014 - 2:10am

Racist ideas will set back Chinese diplomacy

China's territorial disputes with Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, have antagonised their people. Photo: AP

Next month, Hong Kong begins free trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. But is "Asia's world city" ready to treat as equals its 600 million neighbours to the south?

15 Jun 2014 - 3:55am 23 comments

Asean caught uncomfortably in the middle of US-China regional conflict

Asean Secretary-General, Le Luong Minh. Photo: Xinhua

Asean secretary general Le Luong Minh's public comment that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must "get [China] out of the territorial waters of Vietnam" has upset the apple cart of Asean neutrality - one of its most sacred assets.

31 May 2014 - 1:41am 6 comments

Asean leaders ride out the South China Sea storms

Riding out the storm

When leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered this week in Myanmar, the weather forecast was for high temperatures combined with a chance of storms.

14 May 2014 - 4:04am