The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization that brings together disparate neighbors to address economic, security, and political issues, but the group’s impact remains limited.
Đang xem: Asean
A woman sits in front of flags of ASEAN members in Bali, Indonesia. Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters
It is an intergovernmental organization of ten Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.The bloc’s biggest success has been promoting economic integration among members. It also helped negotiate the RCEP agreement to create one of the world’s largest free trade blocs.ASEAN has struggled to form a cohesive response to China’s claims in the South China Sea, which conflict with those of several members.
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 total population of 650 million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.8 trillion. The group has played a central role in Asian economic integration, spearheading negotiations among Asia-Pacific nations to form one of the world’s largest free trade blocs and signing six free trade agreements with other regional economies.
More From Our Experts
China’s Communist Party Turns 100: A Major Force in Global Governance, But Cracks Exist in the Xi Era
Karen B. Brooks
Indonesia’s Election Exposes Growing Religious Divide
9/11 Perspectives: How America Changed its Projection of Power
Yet experts say ASEAN’s impact is limited by a lack of strategic vision, diverging priorities among member states, and weak leadership. The bloc’s biggest challenge, they say, is developing a unified approach to China, particularly in response to Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, which overlap with claims of several ASEAN members.
Defense and Security
Trump in Asia
ASEAN is headed by a chair—a position that rotates annually among member states—and is assisted by a secretariat based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Important decisions are usually reached through consultation and consensus guided by the principles of noninterference in internal affairs and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Some experts see this approach to decision-making as a chief drawback for the organization. “These norms of consensus and noninterference have increasingly become outdated, and they have hindered ASEAN’s influence on issues ranging from dealing with China and crises in particular ASEAN states,” says lize.vn’s Joshua Kurlantzick.
Other experts say ASEAN has contributed to regional stability by developing much-needed norms and fostering a neutral environment to address shared challenges. “In Asia, talking and relationship building is half the challenge to solving problems,” Murray Hiebert, a senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told lize.vn.