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. In order to spur further regional integration, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and its three blueprints at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015. To support these Community-building efforts, ASEAN has also instituted the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC).
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-China relations from August 2015 to August 2018. 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 at the Experience ASEAN carnival held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Under our Chairmanship, Singapore aims 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.
As Chair, we continue to facilitate collaboration with external partners for win-win outcomes. Prime Minister Lee co-chaired the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in January 2018, which marked the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations, as well as the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney from 17 to 18 March 2018.
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, they 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.
As ASEAN Chair, Singapore will host the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July/August 2018, the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November 2018, and various officials’ and Ministerial-level meetings on issues including trade, defence and transport.
ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP
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.