The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation among its ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. ASEAN countries have a population of nearly 640 million people and a combined GDP of $2.57trillion. The group has spurred economic integration, signing six freed trade agreements with other regional economies. ASEAN is chaired by an annually rotating presidency assisted by a secretariat based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Decisions are reached through consultation and consensus guided by the principles of noninterference in internal affairs and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Some experts see this approach to decision-making as a chief drawback for the organization.
Australia and ASEAN
Australia’s economic and security interests remain inextricably linked with the countries of Southeast Asia. Australia and ASEAN signed a MoU on Counter International Terrorism. Learn more about Australia’s work with ASEAN to address common security challenges in Why ASEAN matters: our shared security.