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U.S. – ASEAN Timeline
March 31, 2022


Five focus areas of U.S. partnership with ASEAN:

  1. Economic integration
  2. Maritime cooperation
  3. Emerging leaders
  4. Opportunity for women
  5. Transnational challenges


Partnership Timeline:

1967: ASEAN was founded. Established on August 8, 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is now comprised of ten member states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

1977: The United States began engaging with ASEAN as a dialogue partner.

1978: President Carter met with Ministers from ASEAN during the first U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Washington. This gathering in Washington is referred to as the Second ASEAN-US Dialogue.

1979: Secretary Vance attended a meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers in Bali. This was the first official dialogue between a U.S. Secretary of State and ASEAN foreign ministers.

1980-2001: The U.S. and ASEAN hold sixteen joint dialogues.

Early 1999: Development cooperation increased dramatically through the launch of economic programs focusing on trade and investment, technology transfer, and education.

2002: Secretary of State Powell announced the ASEAN Cooperation Plan (ACP), which sought to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat, build regional capacity to address transnational challenges, and foster economic integration.

2005: The U.S. and ASEAN released the Joint Vision Statement on Enhanced Partnership.

2006: ASEAN and the United States signed the ASEAN-United States Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA).

2008: The United States was the first non-ASEAN country to name an Ambassador to ASEAN.


  • President Obama became the first U.S. president to meet all ten ASEAN leaders as a group.
  • The United States became a party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the anchor diplomatic document of ASEAN, opening the door for the United States to join the East Asia Summit.


  • The United States became the first non-ASEAN country to establish a dedicated Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta.
  • The United States, represented by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attended the fifth East Asia Summit for the first time in October 2010.


  • The United States appointed its first resident Ambassador to ASEAN.
  • The United States became the first country to establish a dedicated Military Advisor/Liaison Officer at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN Jakarta.

2013: President Obama launched the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a U.S. government signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. By December 2016, YSEALI had almost 100,000 members.


  • The United States and ASEAN launched the Science and Technology Fellows Program.
  • The Secretary of Defense hosted his ASEAN counterparts in the United States for the first time for the U.S.-ASEAN Defense Forum in Hawaii to discuss important strategic issues.


  • The United States announced a new Technical Advisor to ASEAN to support increased information-sharing on transregional threats.
  • The United States elevated the U.S.–ASEAN relationship to a strategic partnership at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.


  • In February, the United States hosted the Sunnylands Summit, the first U.S.-ASEAN stand-alone summit conducted in the United States.
  • The United States established U.S.-ASEAN Connect, a strategic framework for increased economic engagement with ASEAN.

2017: The United States celebrated ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary and 40 years of friendship with the ASEAN Community.

2019: The United States welcomed the issuance of the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” by the ten leaders of ASEAN.