The Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) is a regional organization comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members. Since its formation on August 8, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, the organization’s membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam. Its principal aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, alongside the protection of regional stability and the provision of a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.
The U.S. Mission to ASEAN partners with ASEAN and related stakeholders to advance U.S. interests in a peaceful, prosperous, and integrated Southeast Asia that respects the rule of law, upholds the dignity of its people and actively addresses regional and global concerns. The United States began engaging with ASEAN as a dialogue partner in 1977, and has cooperated with ASEAN ever since. Starting in the early 1990s, development cooperation increased dramatically through the launch of economic programs focusing on trade and investment, technology transfer, and education.
Recently, the U.S. and ASEAN have redoubled their cooperation on many issues. Political and security discussions have focused on the role of the United States in maintaining peace and stability in the region, the South China Sea disputes and the threat of terrorism. Economic engagement has seen the successful establishment of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. U.S.-ASEAN development cooperation has also focused on capacity building efforts in technology, education, disaster management, food security, human rights, and trade facilitation.