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ASEAN Summit

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The ASEAN Summit is a semiannual meeting held by the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in relation to economic, political, security and socio-cultural development of Southeast Asian countries. In addition, it serves as a prominent regional (Asia) and international (worldwide) conference, with world leaders attending its related summits and meetings to discuss about various problems and global issues, strengthening cooperation, and making decisions.[1][2] The summit has been praised by world leaders for its success and ability to produce results on a global level.[3]

ASEAN Summit
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (orthographic projection).svg
ASEAN members shown in green.
GenreDiplomatic conference
Years active51
InauguratedFebruary 24, 1976 (1976-02-24)
Most recent2017

The league of ASEAN is currently connected with other countries who aimed to participate on the missions and visions of the league. Apparently, the league is conducting an annual meetings with other countries in an organisation collectively known as the ASEAN dialogue partners. ASEAN +3 adds China, Japan and South Korea. The formal summit are held in three days. The usual itinerary are as follows:

  • ASEAN leaders hold an internal organisation meeting.
  • ASEAN leaders hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • Leaders of 3 ASEAN Dialogue Partners (also known as ASEAN+3) namely China, Japan and South Korea hold a meeting with the ASEAN leaders.
  • And a separate meeting is set for leaders of 2 ASEAN Dialogue Partners (also known as ASEAN+CER) namely Australia and New Zealand.



A group photograph of All Head of States Governments at ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos on November 29, 2004

The First ASEAN summit was held February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia.[4] At this summit, ASEAN expressed its readiness to "develop fruitful relations" and mutually beneficial co-operation with other countries of the region.[5] The ASEAN leaders signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. On 2nd ASEAN summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1977 was the occasion for the first summit meeting between Japan and ASEAN. Japan expressed its intention to promote co-operation with ASEAN.[6]

On 9th ASEAN Summit; A meeting on 7 October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia. The leaders of the members nations signed a declaration known as the Bali Concord II in which they agreed to pursue closer economic integration by 2020.

According to the declaration, "an ASEAN Community" would be set upon three pillars, "namely political and security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation; For the purpose of ensuring durable peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region." The plan envisaged a region with a population of 500 million and annual trade of US$720 billion. Also, a free trade area would be established in the region by 2020. ASEAN's leaders also discussed setting up a security community alongside the economic one, though without any formal military alliance.

During the same meeting, the People's Republic of China and ASEAN have also agreed to work faster toward a mutual trade agreement, which will create the world's most populous market, with 1.7 billion consumers. Japan also signed an agreement pledging to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers with ASEAN members.

On the 11th ASEAN summit last 12–14 December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Seven main issues were discussed during the Summit. The issues are:

  • the spread of bird flu
  • southern Thailand conflict
  • democracy in Myanmar
  • crude oil prices fluctuation and poverty
  • investment and trade
  • ASEAN Charter

Immediately after the summit ended, the inaugural East Asia Summit was held.

The 12th ASEAN Summit was originally set to be hosted on Cebu island in the Philippines from 10 to 14 December. However, on 8 December, organisers decided to move the summit schedule to 12–15 January 2007 due to Typhoon Seniang. Cebu Metropolitan Area (composed of Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and Lapu-Lapu City) jointly hosted varied events of the summit. The actual conference was held at the Cebu International Convention Centre in Mandaue City while the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort & Spa in Lapu-Lapu City provided accommodations for delegates and venues for smaller meetings.

At the 12th ASEAN Summit, the member countries of ASEAN signed five agreements pertaining to continuing integration of ASEAN and enhancing political, economic and social co-operation in the region:[7]

  • Cebu Declaration Towards a Caring and Sharing Community.
  • Cebu Declaration on the Blueprint for the ASEAN Charter.
  • Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
  • ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
  • ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism.

The 13th ASEAN Summit was held from 18–22 November 2007, in Singapore. The theme was "One ASEAN at the Heart of Dynamic Asia".

The key theme of the discussions was set to be on "Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development". In line with the theme, the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Environmental Sustainability was signed at the 13th ASEAN Summit and a proposal to work on a Singapore Declaration on the Environment was issued at the 3rd East Asia Summit.

The leaders had endorsed the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint which will help chart concrete targets for establishing a single market and production base in the ASEAN region by 2015.

The summit marking the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-EU ties was held on 22 November.

Other documents that had been[clarification needed] negotiated and signed:

  • ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement on Architectural Services.
  • ASEAN Framework Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Surveying Qualifications.
  • Protocol to Implement the Sixth Package of Commitments under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services.
  • Agreements on trade and areas of co-operation with ASEAN Dialogue Partners.

The 15th Asean Summit was held from 23–25 October 2009 in Hua Hin, Cha-am, Thailand.[8] It involved the Leaders from Asean league of Nations together with their dialogue partners from People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

A flurry of meetings among Asian leaders on the last day raised the possibility of forging a regional free trade pact, which is likely to be raised at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November 2009.

The 16th ASEAN Summit held in Ha Noi, Vietnam 9 April 2010 "Towards the Asean Community: from Vision to Action".

The 17th ASEAN Summit in October 2010 in Vietnam Ha Noi. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not attend the opening ceremony of the Summit that afternoon. He had to cut short his trip and returned home to oversee the rescue operation in the disaster-stricken area, after arriving here on Tuesday for a state visit prior to attending the Summit.
The 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta capital of Indonesia.
The 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia at November 2011.

28th and 29th ASEAN Summits

The 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits were held from 6 to 7 September 2016 in Vientiane, Laos, under the theme “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community.” In 2016 Lao PDR assumed the Chairmanship of ASEAN and the year 2016 also marked the start off of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. Apart from the two main Summits, other sideline Summits under the umbrella of ASEAN were also being held. There were nine Summits with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners under the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT) and East Asia Summit (EAS) cooperation frameworks. Also, under the sub-regional cooperation framework, the Mekong-Japan Summit was held. In this occasion, there also provided the platform for the ASEAN Leaders also to meet with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Representatives of ASEAN Youth, and ASEAN Business Advisory Council. The main theme discussed at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits was regarding the further commitment for the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the three community Blueprints. ASEAN Leaders also signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.

South China Sea issues also came atop among important agenda at the Summit. At the Summit, the Philippines and Japan expressed serious concerns over China’s maritime territorial claim and artificial islands in the South China Sea. Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, called peaceful settlement of dispute between China and the Philippines. The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte reaffirmed at the meeting that the dispute should be solved “within the boundaries of the law,”[9] referring to the Hague ruling under the Philippines v. China case in July 2016. The draft statement of meetings include lukewarm criticism over China’s actions in the South China sea.[10] In addition there is no statements about the community’s position on the Hague ruling.[11] No multilateral statement has been clearly made to reflect the voice the ASEAN community as a whole on the South China’s Sea issues. China reiterated that there should be no interference and the issues should be dealt in a bilateral manner.


The ASEAN Summit is held by its 10 Southeast Asian Countries annually.

ASEAN Formal Summits
No. Date Country Host City/ies Host leader
1st 23–24 February 1976   Indonesia Bali President Suharto
2nd 4–5 August 1977   Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Prime Minister Hussein Onn
3rd 14–15 December 1987   Philippines Manila President Corazon Aquino
4th 27‒29 January 1992   Singapore Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
5th 14‒15 December 1995   Thailand Bangkok Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa
6th 15‒16 December 1998   Vietnam Hanoi Prime Minister Phan Văn Khải
7th 5‒6 November 2001   Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
8th 4‒5 November 2002   Cambodia Phnom Penh Prime Minister Hun Sen
9th 7‒8 October 2003   Indonesia Bali President Megawati Sukarnoputri
10th 29‒30 November 2004   Laos Vientiane Prime Minister Bounnhang Vorachith
11th 12‒14 December 2005   Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
12th 11‒14 January 20071   Philippines2 Mandaue President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
13th 18‒22 November 2007   Singapore Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
14th3 27 February–1 March 2009   Thailand Cha-am & Hua Hin Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
10–11 April 2009 Pattaya
15th 23−25 October 2009 Cha-am & Hua Hin
16th 8–9 April 2010   Vietnam Hanoi Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng
17th 28–31 October 2010
18th 7–8 May 2011   Indonesia4 Jakarta President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
19th 14–19 November 2011 Bali
20th 3–4 April 2012   Cambodia Phnom Penh Prime Minister Hun Sen
21st 17–20 November 2012
22nd 24–25 April 2013   Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
23rd 9–10 October 2013
24th 10–11 May 2014   Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw President Thein Sein
25th 10–12 November 2014
26th 26‒27 April 2015   Malaysia Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak
27th 18–22 November 2015 Kuala Lumpur
28th 6–8 September 2016   Laos Vientiane Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
30th 28–29 April 2017   Philippines Pasay President Rodrigo Duterte
31st 10–14 November 2017
32nd 27–28 April 2018   Singapore Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
33rd 11–15 November 2018
34th April/May 2019   Thailand TBA Prime Minister TBA
35th October/November 2019
36th April/May 2020   Vietnam TBA Prime Minister TBA
37th October/November 2020
1 Originally scheduled from 10‒14 December 2006 due to Typhoon Utor (Seniang).
2 Hosted the summit because Myanmar backed out due to enormous pressure from the United States and the European Union.
3 This summit consisted of two parts.
The first part was moved from 12‒17 December 2008 due to the 2008 Thai political crisis.
The second part was aborted on 11 April due to protesters entering the summit venue.
4   Indonesia hosted twice in a row by swapping years with   Brunei, as it will play host to APEC (and the possibility of hosting the G20 summit, which ultimately fell to Russia) in 2013.

During the fifth summit in Bangkok, the leaders decided to meet "informally" between each formal summit.

ASEAN Summit for Public Relations (APRS).
# Dates Country City
1st 4–7 February 2015   Indonesia Batam



Prior to the ASEAN summit, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra publicly threatened to walk out of the meeting if any member states raised the issue of the Thai government's handling of the insurgency in south Thailand. He stated "If the topic is raised, I will fly back home".[12] This is notable since leaders have often shown solidarity with each other over high-profile issues such as East Timor and Myanmar's handling of Aung San Suu Kyi. Furthermore, one of the principles on which ASEAN was founded is a stated principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other member states. Any tension has been kept from the public view and leaders have avoided confrontational statements in public.

Indonesia (the world's most populous Muslim country) and Malaysia however were particularly vehement in their condemnation over the Thai government's handling of the events in south Thailand with a former Malaysian Prime minister going to the extent of suggesting that the Southern Thai states should be given autonomy power. The Malaysian foreign minister further was quoted as saying that there is no such thing as absolute non-interference. It is thought that Thaksin's statement was made following the Malaysian government's passing of an opposition resolution condemning the Thai government for the death of at least 85 Muslim protestors in south Thailand.

Laotian spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy stated "I think we have a golden rule, that is non-interference in the internal affairs of each other." He added "It is a courtesy among the leaders, among the ministers, that if one of the leaders does not wish to discuss a question, all the leaders will respect it."

Myanmar (Burma)Edit

Also prior to the 2004 summit, Myanmar had taken steps to rehabilitate itself by releasing up to 9,000 prisoners who were imprisoned under the old junta. Myanmar's new leader General Soe Win attended the conference and foreign minister Ne Win had already made pre-summit press releases on Myanmar's continuing commitment for the roadmap to democracy.

Myanmar was due to hold the chair of ASEAN in 2006. This however had created criticism from various factions. The United States and the European Union publicly announced that they might boycott any ASEAN-related event if Myanmar was the chair. In July 2005, during an ASEAN foreign minister meeting in Vientiane, Myanmar decided to postpone its turn. The Philippines, the country next in line, instead held the ASEAN chair in 2006.

Apart from the US, various ASEAN lawmakers have called Myanmar's membership to be stripped due to its poor human rights record.[13]

East TimorEdit

The new nation of East Timor, previously ruled by Indonesia, has had a long struggle with ASEAN. East Timor, during its long process towards independence, has sought to have observer status in ASEAN, much like Papua New Guinea, and eventually official member status. Historically, ASEAN countries supported Indonesia over East Timor, with the Philippines and Malaysia barring overseas NGOs from participating in East Timor conferences in the late 1990s. More recently, Myanmar opposed granting observer status to East Timor because of the latter's support for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 2002, East Timor was recognised as an observer of ASEAN and joined the ASEAN Regional Forum in 2005.[14][15] In December 2005, the government of East Timor stated the nation would be a member of ASEAN by 2011.[16]

The nation's President were already applied for a membership at the 39th Annual Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers last 2006 held on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[17] Yet the request were still pending including the independent state of Papua New Guinea.

14th ASEAN Summit and ProtestEdit

The 14th ASEAN summit was held from 26 to 1 February March 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand. It was originally scheduled for December 2008, but was postponed due to the political crisis in Thailand. At the summit, the ASEAN leaders signed the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community and adopted various other documents, including the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.[18] The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area was established.[19] It is one of Asia's largest trade arrangements and covers trade in goods, investment and services, financial services, telecommunications, electronic commerce and intellectual property.[20] The summit was reconvened in Pattaya, Thailand on 10 April 2009. This second part of the summit was to consist of various meetings between the ASEAN members and one or more non-ASEAN countries from 10–12 April. However, it was aborted on 11 April when hundreds of protesters forced their way past security forces into the venue.[21] Many of the visiting leaders had to be evacuated from the venue by helicopter to a nearby military airbase, although none were injured. The protests were part of the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis and were not believed to be directed at ASEAN leaders but rather at Thailand's government.[22]

Free tradeEdit

At the same time, Australia and New Zealand started the negotiation for a free trade deal with ASEAN. The aim of the negotiation is to significantly reduce trade barriers by 2016.[23][24]

Treaty of Amity and CooperationEdit

ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia is open for non-ASEAN states to accede. It requires the contracting parties to forgo any threat or use of force against each other.

The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member states determined that invitation to the inaugural East Asian Summit, the first of which is to be held in late 2005 and hosted by Malaysia, was to be restricted to parties to the treaty. The Howard Government in Australia, although seeking invitation, was reluctant to accede to the treaty claiming it was out of date and might conflict with obligations and rights it had under other treaties. However, with entry to the Summit confined to parties to the treaty, and with domestic pressure to sign, Australia decided in early 2005 to sign the treaty on the condition that its rights under the UN Charter are recognised as inalienable. Upon the announcement of accession, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was asked whether or not he considered himself an east Asian, he replied: "Do I consider myself an East Asian? ... I consider myself an Australian."


  1. ^ Denis Hew (2005). Roadmap to an Asean Economic Community. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 981-230-347-2.
  2. ^ "World leaders in Manila: Key events at ASEAN".
  3. ^ "World leaders praised the Philippines on how it hosted the ASEAN Summit | UNTV News".
  4. ^ "Economic Achievement". ASEAN. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  5. ^ "External Relations". ASEAN. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Relation between Japan and ASEAN". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. December 1998. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  7. ^ "ASEAN Leaders Sign Five Agreements at the 12th ASEAN Summit, Cebu, the Philippines, 13 January 2007" (Press release). ASEAN Secretariat. 13 January 2007. Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2007. 12th ASEAN Summit, five.
  8. ^ Hội nghị thượng đỉnh ASEAN: Thái Lan huy động lực lượng an ninh lớn (in Vietnamese)
  9. ^ "Beijing's South China Sea claims scrutinised at summit".
  10. ^ "Beijing's South China Sea claims scrutinised at summit".
  11. ^ "Beijing's South China Sea claims scrutinised at summit".
  12. ^
  13. ^ "ASEAN lawmakers want Myanmar membership stripped". Kuala Lumpur: Reuters. 28 November 2004. Archived from the original on 28 November 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  14. ^ East Timor Needs Five Years to Join ASEAN: PM Archived 9 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine., AFP, 27 July 2006, accessed on 22 December 2008
  15. ^ Excerpts from the Joint Communique of the 35th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Bandar Seri Begawan, 29-30 July 2002
  16. ^ Xinhua - English
  17. ^ "East Timor ASEAN bid". The Sydney Morning Herald. 23 July 2006.
  18. ^ "Outcome Documents". Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  19. ^ "Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  20. ^ "Trade deal signed at Asean summit". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  21. ^ Fuller, Thomas (12 April 2009). "Thailand Cancels Summit After Protests". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  22. ^ Thai protesters force Asia summit cancellation Archived 11 June 2009 at WebCite by Bill Tarrant, Reuters (printed in the Ottawa Citizen), 11 April 2009.
  23. ^ Aust wins invite to next year's ASEAN summit. 1 December 2004. ABC News Online
  24. ^ Southeast Asia Leaders Advance Free Trade with Six Major Countries Archived 16 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit