MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began its 40th and 41st Summit Meeting on November 10, 2022. The three-day event will see the member-states of the association discuss and meet on different topics and issues that concern the region. This is the first summit that is held on-site, as the last two summits have been hosted and organized online.
Cambodia is hosting the summit in its capital Phnom Penh. Attending his first regional summit as head of state, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. plans to hold different bilateral talks with ASEAN members and allies in the next few days. What else is there to know about ASEAN and host country Cambodia?
Founding and mission
The first iteration of ASEAN was the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), comprising Thailand, the Philippines, and the then-Federation of Malaya.
ASEAN was then established under the ASEAN Declaration in Bangkok on August 8, 1967. It was composed of five original members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It had originally set out to accelerate economic growth, achieve regional stability, and mutual as well as beneficial assistance among member-states.
One of ASEAN’s five founding fathers was then-Philippine foreign secretary Narciso R. Ramos, father of the late former president Fidel V. Ramos.
There have been five other countries who have joined the Association since then: Brunei in 1984, Vietnam in 1997, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.
Other groups and iterations have formed under ASEAN, which include non-Southeast Asian states. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) was established in 1976 to include member-states such as the US, Japan, Turkey, and Cuba.
The current ASEAN Secretary-General is Lim Jock Hoi of Brunei. The position rotates annually and alphabetically among the members. There have been two Filipino secretaries-general: Rodolfo Severino Jr. from 1998 to 2002, and Narciso Reyes from 1980 to 1982.
All ASEAN member-states are in attendance, with the exception of Prime Minister Ismael Sabri Yaakob of Malaysia, who is unable to attend due to preparations for his country’s general elections. Malaysian Speaker of the House of Representatives Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun is leading the country’s ASEAN delegation, according to MalayMail.
What happens during the Summit?
While the first Summit in 1976 further established the Association, the following summits tackled relevant issues pertaining to the current unrest in Myanmar, Taiwanese-Chinese tensions, the war in Ukraine, and a post-COVID-19 ASEAN. (READ: Economic, regional security take spotlight at ASEAN summit)
Besides the main summit, different meetings and functions are organized and attended by the different heads of state. Working committees on different issues are initiated or continued, meetings with ASEAN allies are convened, and deals with business leaders from around the world are inked. (WATCH: Marcos meets with business leaders on first day of ASEAN Summit)
Indonesia will host next year’s ASEAN Summit. – Rappler.com