Backgrounder: Basic facts about ASEAN

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-29 10:00:37|Editor: ying
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MANILA, April 29 (Xinhua) -- The 30th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will kick off here on Saturday.

The following are some basic facts about the 10-member regional organization.

ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967, in Bangkok by the five original member countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.

ASEAN has a combined population of approximately 629 million people, accounting for 8.8 percent of the world's total. In 2016, the bloc's combined GDP had grown to more than 2.4 trillion U.S. dollars, the 6th largest economy in the world.

The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: (1) to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and (2) to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

On Dec. 31, 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established comprising three pillars - ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio- Cultural Community, marking another milestone in ASEAN's history.

The highest decision-making body of ASEAN is the Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government. The ASEAN summit is convened every year.