Test Your Knowledge of ASEAN

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ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic union of ten member states in Southeast Asia, with a total population of about 668 million and a purchasing power parity gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$10.2 trillion in 2022. ASEAN aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitate economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration between its members and countries in the Asia-Pacific. It has broadened its objectives beyond the economic and social spheres to include establishing an ASEAN community that consists of three pillars: the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. ASEAN was preceded by an organization formed on 31 July 1961 called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA). ASEAN itself was created on 8 August 1967, when the foreign ministers of five countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, signed the ASEAN Declaration. ASEAN has expanded its membership since its creation, and in 2021, Brunei held the ASEAN chair. ASEAN has coordinated with ASEAN+3 and other actors to create a regional public health response, including during the SARS outbreak and the H1N1 pandemic. Since 2017, political, military and ethnic affairs in Myanmar have posed unusual challenges for ASEAN, creating precedent-breaking situations and threatening the traditions and unity of the group, and its global standing—with ASEAN responses indicating possible fundamental change in the nature of the organization. The Rohingya genocide erupting in Myanmar in August 2017 created a global outcry demanding ASEAN take action against the civilian-military coalition government of Myanmar, which had long discriminated against the Rohingya. ASEAN had a longstanding firm policy of "non-interference in the internal affairs of member nations," and was reluctant, as an organization, to take sides in the conflict, or act materially. In response, ASEAN began to put pressure on Myanmar to be less hostile to the Rohingya, and to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities against them. However, ASEAN's positions on the issue largely divided on religious lines, with Muslim nations siding more with the Rohingya, while Buddhist nations initially sided more with Myanmar's government, threatening a sectarian division of ASEAN. Authoritarian ASEAN nations, too, were less enthusiastic than democratic ASEAN nations about holding Myanmar officials accountable for crimes against their Rohingya minority. By late-2018, most ASEAN nations had begun to advocate for a more forceful ASEAN response to the Rohingya crisis, and a harder line against Myanmar, breaking with the group's traditional policy of "non-interference" in members' "internal affairs."ASEAN: A Summary of Key Facts and Figures

  • ASEAN's Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) supported Myanmar's "efforts" on repatriation, with aid, restraining some members' desire for more intrusive proposals.

  • By January 2020, ASEAN had made little progress to prepare safe conditions for the Rohingyas' return to Myanmar.

  • In 2021, a military junta overthrew Myanmar's civilian government in a coup d'etat, and global pressure was brought on ASEAN to take action.

  • In April 2021, ASEAN leaders met with Myanmar's coup leader and agreed to a five-point consensus solution to the crisis in Myanmar, which drew strong criticism from over 150 human rights organizations.

  • In June 2021, the United Nations General Assembly condemned Myanmar's coup, and most authoritarian ASEAN states abstained from the vote.

  • In October 2021, ASEAN declined to invite Myanmar's Gen. Hlaing to represent Myanmar at ASEAN's summit, and the unusual action was widely seen as a major setback for the Myanmar junta's attempt to achieve global recognition.

  • With perceptions that there have been multiple incursions into the South China Sea by the PRC (China) and ROC (Taiwan), ASEAN sought for a more unified response against what it perceived to be Chinese penetration and hegemony into the region.

  • The ASEAN Way refers to a methodology or approach to solving issues that respect Southeast Asia's cultural norms and prioritizes a consensus-based, non-conflictual way of addressing problems.

  • The AEC aims to "implement economic integration initiatives" to create a single market for member states.

  • The APSC aims to create a robust political-security environment within ASEAN, with programs and activities outlined to establish the APSC by 2016.

  • The ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC) was proposed at the 4th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) on 11 May 2010 in Hanoi.

  • As of 1 July 2019, the population of the ASEAN was about 655 million people (8.5% of the world population), with the region's population growth at 1.1% per year.Overview of ASEAN Integration Efforts

  • ASEAN has three community blueprints: the ASEAN Political-Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

  • The AEC aims to establish a single market by ensuring free flow of goods, services, skilled labor, and capital among member states.

  • The AEC Scorecard is a compliance tool used to measure the extent of integration and economic health of the region.

  • Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam have decreased tariffs on 98.86% of their lines to the 0-5% tariff range in 2010, and are projected to eliminate tariffs on these goods by 2015.

  • ASEAN is projected to be the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2050.

  • The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) aims to integrate the energy systems of ASEAN member states.

  • The 2020 ASEAN Banking Integration Framework challenges ASEAN banking institutions to expand their services to an intra-ASEAN market.

  • The roadmap for financial integration identifies approaches and milestones in capital market development, capital account and financial services liberalization, and ASEAN currency cooperation.

  • ASEAN countries recognize the importance of strengthening food security to maintain stability and prosperity in the region.

  • ASEAN has many economic zones, and eight of its members are among the world's outperforming economies.

  • The ASEAN Economic Community was formed in 2015, but the group deferred about 20% of the harmonization provisions needed to create a common market and set a new deadline of 2025.

  • Intra-ASEAN trade was low until the end of 2010, but realized foreign direct investment increased two-fold in 2010.

  • The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services (AFAS) was adopted at the ASEAN.Overview of ASEAN's Economic Community

  • ASEAN has a goal of creating a single market and production base with free flow of goods, services, investments, and skilled labour.

  • Mutual Recognition Agreements have been agreed upon by ASEAN for eight professions, allowing individuals to work in any ASEAN state, effective 31 December 2015.

  • Six member states have collaborated on integrating their stock exchanges with the goal to compete with international exchanges.

  • ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM) is the region's aviation policy aimed towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeast Asia.

  • The concept of an Asian Currency Unit (ACU) is a proposed basket of Asian currencies, similar to the European Currency Unit, which was the precursor of the Euro.

  • The Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was adopted as a schedule for phasing out tariffs to increase the "region's competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market".

  • ASEAN has free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand. It is negotiating an FTA with the European Union.

  • ASEAN is developing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers 45% of the world's population and about a third of the world's total GDP.

  • Cross-border electricity trade in ASEAN has been limited, despite efforts since 1997 to establish an ASEAN Power Grid and associated trade.

  • Tourism has been one of the key growth sectors in ASEAN and has proven resilient amid global economic challenges.

  • ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances, dialogue partners, and diplomatic missions, and is involved in numerous international affairs.

  • ASEAN is a major partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and is closely aligned with China.

  • ASEAN and Canada initiated exploratory discussions for an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement in 2017.

How much do you know about ASEAN? Test your knowledge with our quiz on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic union of ten member states in Southeast Asia. From the ASEAN Economic Community to the ASEAN Security Community, this quiz will challenge you on the organization's objectives, history, and current events. See how well you know ASEAN's efforts towards economic integration, mutual recognition agreements, and its global network of alliances and dialogue partners. Don't miss out on this opportunity

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