Challenges to Economic Cooperation
Chapter 27: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Page 234 27 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ASEAN is a most successful expression of bringing together several (five in 1967, seven in 1995), sovereign nationstates in Southeast Asia to a shared commitment to a jointly defined intraregional agenda. Specific contributing factors to the ASEAN success story merit careful evaluation. First, ASEAN, since its founding in 1967 with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, has experienced a history of evolution in intraregional cooperation for a long period. A commitment to a common regional security and defense arrangement over the past many years helped in the effective promotion of a broader political framework of mutual appreciation of each other’s concern. The phased progression of ASEAN regionalization by a series of Declarations helped to develop a mutual understanding among the leaders of the five sovereign memberstates and cemented the intraregional bond. The process was never threatened by the dictum of the majority rule, and sovereignty of each memberstate was respected. Membercountries carefully noted the limitations of any form of superpower game and related to each other accordingly. The socalled “ASEAN way” or “ASEAN consensus” became the mode of operation and sustained the ASEAN togetherness. A commitment to flexibility for both intraregional and interregional accommodation has been at the core of ASEAN success. As Brunei and Vietnam became members of ASEAN in 1985 and 1995, respectively, the new sovereign membercountries fully appreciated and accepted the institution and its way of operation. Thus,...
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