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Singapore was one of the founding members of ASEAN when it was formed on 8 August 1967, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.  As a small nation-state, Singapore strongly supports ASEAN’s goal of building a strong, prosperous and rules-based ASEAN. The ASEAN Community, comprising the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), was established on 31 December 2015.

The success of ASEAN rests on its open, inclusive and outward-looking nature. In this vein, ASEAN has established Dialogue Partnerships with ten parties: Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States. Each ASEAN Member State is appointed to coordinate relations with a Dialogue Partner; Singapore is the country coordinator for ASEAN-EU dialogue relations from August 2018 to August 2021. In addition to the Dialogue Partnerships, ASEAN-led platforms including the ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, have helped to develop predictability in interactions amongst its members, thus enhancing confidence-building and contributing towards regional stability.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched Singapore’s 2018 ASEAN Chairmanship in January 2018 at the Experience ASEAN carnival held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Under our Chairmanship, Singapore aimed to build a “Resilient and Innovative” ASEAN that is united, adaptable and better-equipped to deal with the increasingly complex geopolitical landscape and the digital revolution. 

At the 32nd ASEAN Summit, which took place from 25 to 28 April 2018 in Singapore, ASEAN Leaders adopted three outcome documents aimed at strengthening ASEAN Centrality and unity, and making the region more future-ready. The ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN outlines the geostrategic shifts ASEAN is facing, and reaffirms the key principles that anchor ASEAN Member States’ collective vision of building a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN. In addition, ASEAN Leaders launched the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, which aims to leverage on innovative technology solutions to improve the lives of ASEAN citizens. The Leaders also adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation.

Singapore also hosted the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings (AMM) from 30 July to 4 August 2018, during which ASEAN dialogued with its ten Dialogue Partners as well as its Sectoral Dialogue Partners.  During the AMM, the Foreign Ministers also announced ASEAN and China’s arrival at a Single Draft Negotiating Text on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.  Singapore also took over from Thailand the role of ASEAN-EU Country Coordinator.

At the 33rd ASEAN Summit held in Singapore from 13 to 15 November 2018, ASEAN Leaders reiterated our efforts to build a resilient and innovative ASEAN, enhance our relations with external partners, as well as strengthen ASEAN Centrality and unity. ASEAN Leaders also adopted the ASEAN Smart Cities Framework;Singapore will continue to help shepherd the ASCN beyond 2018. At the end of the Summit, Singapore handed over the Chairmanship of ASEAN to Thailand.

More information can be found on the official ASEAN Secretariat website.


Within ASEAN, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was formally realised on 31 December 2015, following the signing of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community on 22 November 2015. The AEC is the cornerstone of ASEAN’s efforts towards deeper regional integration and is aligned with Singapore’s interests for a more open trade regime in ASEAN.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed FTA between the ten ASEAN member states and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. The RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognising the individual and diverse circumstances of the participating countries.

Beyond advancing our economic interests, these intra and inter-regional FTAs help build a web of strategic linkages for Singapore within the region and with countries outside the region. They serve the broader interest of anchoring the presence of our major trading partners in Southeast Asia, and ensuring that they remain as stakeholders here. These FTAs also help to sustain an open regional orientation and prevent the formation of inward-looking trading blocs. This web of interlocking economic and strategic interests will contribute to regional stability, prosperity and security.

More information can be found on the official ASEAN Secretariat website.


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