The Background of the Founding of ASEAN and Its Purpose

The Background of the Founding of ASEAN and Its Purpose – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or what we usually call ASEAN is a geopolitical and economic organization for countries in the Southeast Asian region. ASEAN itself was first established on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok. At that time, the agreement was born as a result of the signing of eight countries to the Bangkok Declaration.

The purpose of establishing this multinational organization called ASEAN is none other than to provide welfare to all citizens of Southeast Asia. The feeling of sharing the same fate as a newly established country in the midst of a tense war between the two superpowers made the leaders of countries in Southeast Asia take the initiative to unite themselves to create peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Southeast Asian region.

In the 1960s, the Southeast Asia region was a green area or an area that was very vulnerable for the superpowers to meet to carry out military or ideological wars. This very worrying condition has the potential to cause turmoil that could disrupt the stability of the country during the development period. This is the main reason for leaders from previous ASEAN countries to work together to realize shared goals with seven goals, namely:

A. ASEAN Goals

The Background of the Founding of ASEAN and Its Purpose

1. Accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint efforts in the spirit of equality and friendship to strengthen the foundation of a prosperous and peaceful society of Southeast Asian nations.
2. Promote active cooperation and mutual assistance in matters of common interest in the economic, social, technical, scientific and administrative fields.
3. Promote regional peace and stability by respecting justice and the rule of law in relations between countries in the region and adhering to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
4. Provide mutual assistance in the form of advice on training and research in the fields of education, professions, engineering, and administration.
5. Cooperate more effectively to increase the use of their agriculture and industry, expand trade and study of international commodity problems, improve transportation and communication facilities, and improve people’s living standards.
6. Promote research on Southeast Asia
7. To maintain close and fruitful cooperation with various international and regional organizations which have similar objectives, and to take care of all possibilities for close cooperation among themselves.

B. Background for the Establishment of ASEAN

After understanding the purpose of ASEAN, then we will try again to understand the most important and basic background of the establishment of the ASEAN multinational organization. The following are some of the backgrounds that strongly encourage cooperation between countries in Southeast Asia:

1. Geographical Equations

The geographical similarity of countries in the Southeast Asian region is a sense of shared destiny that appears. The Southeast Asian region is actually located between two continents, namely the Australian continent and the Asian mainland. In addition to the two continents, the Southeast Asian region is flanked by two large oceans, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

2. Cultural Similarities

The majority of the population of Southeast Asia is actually descended from the Malayan Mongoloid race. The Malayan Mongoloid race in its development received many cultural influences such as skin color, food, and customs from China, India, to Arabia (Gujarat).

3. Equation of Interest

As a newly independent country, Southeast Asian countries have the same goals and ideals. ASEAN’s goals and aspirations include prosperity, security, order and peace, both nationally and internationally.

4. Equation of Fate

At that time, almost all countries in Southeast Asia were colonies of other countries, such as Indonesia by the Netherlands, the Philippines by Spain and America, to Malaysia and Singapore by the British. Only Thailand is free from colonialism.

10 ASEAN Member Countries

Quoted from the online media of the ASEAN-Indonesia National Secretariat, the following are the 10 countries that are members of ASEAN along with the joining date that you need to know:

1. Indonesia: August 8, 1967
2. Malaysia: August 8, 1967
3. Singapore: August 8, 1967
4. Thailand: August 8, 1967
5. Philippines: August 8, 1967
6. Brunei Darussalam: January 8, 1984
7. Vietnam: July 28, 1995
8. Laos: July 23, 1997
9. Myanmar: July 23, 1997
10. Cambodia: April 30, 1999

C. ASEAN Today

As previously mentioned above, ASEAN was first ratified through the signing of the Bangkok Declaration in 1967. The meeting was attended by representatives from several countries in Southeast Asia such as Adam Malik from Indonesia, Tun Abdul Razak from Malaysia, Thanat Khoman from Thailand. , Narciso Ramos from the Philippines, and S. Rajaratnam from Singapore.

After nearly 5 decades of existence, countries that are still actively involved in ASEAN include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Referring to the information contained on the website of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is stated that currently ASEAN already has the ASEAN Charter or called the ASEAN Charter. The purpose of the ASEAN Charter itself is to transform ASEAN from a loose political association into an international organization based on legal and strong laws (legal personality), with binding and clear regulations, and having an effective and efficient organizational structure.

The purpose of the ASEAN Charter or the ASEAN Charter is to re-establish the principles that have been contained in all ASEAN declarations, agreements and agreements. The ASEAN Charter itself was signed at the 13th ASEAN Summit which was held on November 20, 2007 in Singapore by 10 Heads of State or governments of ASEAN member countries. The ASEAN Charter will come into force or enter into force as of December 15, 2008. The charter will come into force 30 days after it has been ratified by the 10 ASEAN member countries. In this case, Indonesia has ratified the ASEAN Charter through Law no. 38 of 2008.

D. Principles for the Establishment of ASEAN

ASEAN is not only about the purpose of its formation. In addition to the agreed objectives of ASEAN, the following are the principles for the establishment of ASEAN using the basis of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of South East Asian (TAC) in 1976:

1. Main Principle

a. Respect the independence, sovereignty, equality, national territorial integrity, and national identity of each country
b. The right for every state to lead a national presence free from outside interference, subversion or coercion
c. Do not interfere in the domestic affairs of fellow member countries
d. Settlement of differences or debates peacefully
e. Refusing to use lethal force
f. Effective cooperation between members

Basic principles

a. Respect the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN member countries
b. Share commitment and collective responsibility in promoting peace, security and prosperity in the region
c. Reject aggression and the threat or use of force or other actions in a manner inconsistent with written international law
d. Reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes
e. Do not interfere in the internal affairs of ASEAN member countries
f. Respect the right of each Member State to maintain its national existence free from external interference, subversion, and coercion
g. Enhanced consultations on matters seriously affecting ASEAN’s common interests
h. Compliance with the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles and constitutional governance
i. Respect for basic freedoms, promotion and protection of human rights, and promotion of social justice
j. Upholding the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law, approved by ASEAN member states
k. Does not participate in policies or activities, including the use of its territory, and is pursued by ASEAN Member States or non-ASEAN States or non-state actors, which threaten the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States
l. Respect the cultural, linguistic and religious differences of the ASEAN peoples, while emphasizing shared values ​​in the spirit of unity in diversity;
m. ASEAN’s centrality in external political, economic, social and cultural relations while remaining actively engaged, outward-looking, inclusive and non-discriminatory;
n. Adherence to multilateral trade rules and ASEAN-based rules regimes for the effective implementation of economic commitments and the progressive reduction of all barriers to regional economic integration, in the push of a market economy.

E. Forms of ASEAN Cooperation in Various Fields

For almost more than five decades, countries in the Southeast Asia region under ASEAN have been actively cooperating in various fields. The cooperation carried out by ASEAN countries includes in the fields of economy, politics, education, security, to social and culture. The cooperation carried out by ASEAN countries is very diverse, this cooperation is a way for each country to help each other in efforts to realize the goals and ideals of ASEAN member countries.

In brief, the objectives of the various forms of cooperation among ASEAN countries in various fields are as follows:

  • ASEAN Cooperation in the Social Sector: Each ASEAN member country is required to have an active role and participate in efforts to build cooperation to support the welfare of its own country.
  • ASEAN Cooperation in the Political and Security Sector: Cooperation in the political and security sector is aimed at creating security, stability and peace among countries in the Southeast Asian region.
  • ASEAN Cooperation in Education: This collaboration aims to improve the quality of education in Southeast Asia and enhance international competitiveness.
  • ASEAN Cooperation in the Economic Sector: All cooperation takes place as a step to create and realize equitable and sustainable economic growth in Southeast Asian countries.

1. Forms of ASEAN Cooperation in the Political and Security Sector

One definite example of the cooperation of ASEAN countries in the political and security fields is the agreement on the existence of ZOPFAN, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC in Southeast Asia), and the Treaty on Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Southeast Asia (Treaty on Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia). Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone/SEANWFZ). Not only that, the cooperation that has taken place from ASEAN countries in the political field is the realization of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). ARF itself is a form of ASEAN’s concern regarding the latest cases in Southeast Asia.

The following is a form of cooperation between ASEAN countries in the political and security fields:

a. Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLAT).

b. ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT).

c. The Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) with the aim of promoting regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in the defense and security sector.

d. South China Sea dispute resolution.

e. Cooperation in the enforcement and elimination of transnational crimes that includes the eradication of terrorism, money laundering, smuggling, drug trafficking, and trafficking in small arms and human beings, piracy, internet crimes, and international economic crimes.

f. Cooperation in the field of law, migration & consular affairs, inter-parliamentary institutions.

2. Forms of ASEAN Cooperation in the Social and Cultural Sector

The main objective of the cooperation carried out by ASEAN countries in the socio-cultural field is to create harmony and mutual progress. ASEAN cooperation in the socio-cultural field is organized by COSD (Committee on Social Development).

The following is a form of ASEAN cooperation in the socio-cultural field:

a. Social development by emphasizing the welfare of low-income groups, expanding job opportunities, as well as reasonable payments (wages);

b. Assist women and youth in development efforts;

c. Dealing with problems of population development in cooperation with the relevant international agencies;

d. Human Resource Development;

e. Improved welfare;

f. Health improvement programs (food and medicine);

g. Cultural and arts exchanges, as well as ASEAN film festivals;

h. The signing of a joint agreement in the ASEAN tourism sector (ASEAN Tourism Agreement (ATA));

i. Organizing sports events every two years through SEA-Games.

3. Forms of ASEAN Cooperation in the Education Sector

The form of cooperation between ASEAN countries in the field of education has always been carried out in bilateral and multilateral forms. Cooperation in the field of education is carried out with the aim of improving the quality of education in Southeast Asia and increasing the international competitiveness of ASEAN member countries.
The following is a form of cooperation between ASEAN countries in the field of education:

a. ASEAN Council of Teachers Convention (ACT) in Sanur, Denpasar, Saturday (8/12/2012), with the theme ASEAN Community 2015: Teacher Professionalism for Quality Education and Humanity. The largest teacher forum in Southeast Asia was attended by teacher organizations from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Vietnam, and even South Korea.

b. Education scholarship offers. Singapore has conducted educational collaborations by providing scholarships for training in airport service management, industrial occupational health and safety, to maritime communications, and others. Meanwhile, the form of cooperation that occurs in Indonesia is scholarships for medical, language and art education to students from several ASEAN member countries and developing country regions.

c. The use of scholarships by students from ASEAN countries to study at various campuses in ASEAN countries and Japan using the funds provided by the ASEAN-Japan Scholarship Fund (ASEAN-Japan Scholarship Fund).

d. Olympics in the field of education are often held at the regional level in Southeast Asia. Indonesia, through Pertamina, was the organizer of the 2015 National Science Olympiad (OSN).

4. Forms of ASEAN Cooperation in the Economic Sector

The cooperation carried out by ASEAN countries in the economic field has been developing rapidly. The peak of successful cooperation in the economic field was when the leaders of ASEAN countries agreed to establish a single market in the Southeast Asia region at the end of 2015. The term is the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

As a form of competition with the economic revival of China and India, the AEC has a goal to improve and develop ASEAN’s competitiveness in the Asian economy. Plus, MEA stands to attract more foreign investment. Southeast Asia is currently still in dire need of foreign investment to boost economic growth, expand employment opportunities, and promote industrial development.

The establishment of the MEA is actually to realize ASEAN economic integration, namely: the achievement of a secure ASEAN region with a higher and integrated level of development dynamics; alleviation of the ASEAN community from poverty, and economic growth to achieve equitable and sustainable prosperity.

This is because the MEA has 4 main characteristics, namely a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic area, an area with equitable economic development, and an area that is fully integrated with the global economy.

Gradually, the MEA opens the possibility for countries to easily sell goods and services to other ASEAN member countries. Not only that, a professional labor market will be initiated, such as doctors, teachers, accountants, technical experts, and so on.

Thus, economic activities in the form of production, consumption, to distribution, are getting wider and developing freely among ASEAN countries.

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