The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
Aims and Purposes
As set out in the ASEAN Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are:
- To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations;
- To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;
- To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;
- To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;
- To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilisation of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples;
- To promote Southeast Asian studies; and
- To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.
In their relations with one another, the ASEAN Member States have adopted the following fundamental principles, as contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of 1976:
- Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
- The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
- Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
- Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
- Effective cooperation among themselves.
The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.
At the 9th ASEAN Summit in 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established.
At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007, the Leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015 and signed the Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint, and, together with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan Phase II (2009-2015), they form the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015.
The ASEAN Charter serves as a firm foundation in achieving the ASEAN Community by providing legal status and institutional framework for ASEAN. It also codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values; sets clear targets for ASEAN; and presents accountability and compliance.
The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. A gathering of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers was held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta to mark this very historic occasion for ASEAN.
With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN will henceforth operate under a new legal framework and establish a number of new organs to boost its community-building process.
In effect, the ASEAN Charter has become a legally binding agreement among the 10 ASEAN Member States.
The ASEAN Secretariat was set up in February 1976 by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN. It was then housed at the Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia in Jakarta. The existing ASEAN Secretariat at 70A Jalan Sisingamangaraja, Jakarta was established and officiated in 1981 by the then President of Indonesia, H.E. Soeharto.
The ASEAN Secretariat’s basic function is to provide for greater efficiency in the coordination of ASEAN organs and for more effective implementation of ASEAN projects and activities
The ASEAN Secretariat’s vision is that by 2015, it will be the nerve centre of a strong and confident ASEAN Community that is globally respected for acting in full compliance with its Charter and in the best interest of its people.
The ASEAN Secretariat’s mission is to initiate, facilitate and coordinate ASEAN stakeholder collaboration in realising the purposes and principles of ASEAN as reflected in the ASEAN Charter.
Secretary-General of ASEAN: H.E. Lim Jock Hoi
Dato Lim Jock Hoi was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam since 2006.
During his tenure, he served as Brunei Darussalam’s Senior Official for the ASEAN Economic Community Pillar (SEOM), APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting). He was a member of the High Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) since 2001, serving as the HLTF-EI Chair in 2017. He was Brunei Darussalam’s Chief Negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), as well as for the P4, precursor to the TPP negotiations. Previously, he was also the Co-Chair during the negotiations for the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), and also served as Brunei Darussalam’s Chief Negotiator for the Brunei Darussalam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (BJEPA).
From June 2011-2017, he was the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). He was also on the External Advisory Board for the ASEAN 2030 Study being undertaken by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
He entered the Government Service as an education officer in 1977 and served as principal of a Secondary School from 1981 – 1985. From February 2001 – July 2005, he was appointed as Director-General, International Relations and Trade Development, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources. In September 2005, he was appointed as Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He graduated from the City of London Polytechnic in B.Sc (Hons) Economics in 1976 and received his Post Graduate Certificate of Education in 1977.
He was awarded The Most Honourable Order of Seri Paduka Mahkota Brunei, second Class (D.P.M.B) in 2007. He is married with two sons.
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