United States – ASEAN: 40th Anniversary Facts



United States –ASEAN: 40 Years of Partnership
For the last 40 years, the United States has partnered with ASEAN and its member states on economic engagement, security, rule of law, sustainable development, human rights, and people-to-people programming.

The U.S. congratulates ASEAN on its 50th anniversary and is honored to celebrate 40 years as a friend of the ASEAN community
1. ASEAN means jobs and opportunity for both the United States and the countries of the region.
2. ASEAN is an important partner in addressing transnational challenges.
3. ASEAN is building a rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific region.
4. A union of ten states pledging non-violence and consensus-based decision making provides geopolitical stability for the Asia-Pacific region.
5. ASEAN convenes the leaders of Asia through multilateral fora like the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit.

Five focus areas of U.S. partnership with ASEAN:
1. Supporting economic integration
2. Expanding maritime cooperation with ASEAN
3. Cultivating the emerging leaders of ASEAN
4. Promoting opportunity for women in ASEAN
5. Addressing transnational challenges

In 40 years of partnership, the United States government has supported ASEAN through various channels:
1. The United States has spent over $24 million on development assistance to ASEAN member states since 1967 ($48 million in 2015 USD, inflation adjusted).
2. The United States has offered training or assistance to more than 120,000 entrepreneurs and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) in the ASEAN region over the past five years.
3. Through YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative), the U.S. has trained and assisted nearly 3000 emerging Southeast Asian leaders since 2014. More than 100,000 young people aged 18-35 have joined the program, and over 80,000 are active on digital platforms.
4. The United States has invested over $14 million to fund programs and networks to support Southeast Asian women’s economic engagement.
5. In the last five years, the United States has conducted over 600 trainings, exchanges, and workshops and spent over $51 million to advance maritime cooperation in ASEAN.
6. In the last five years, the United States has spent nearly $37 million on security assistance through its Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative, and an additional $37 million for International Military Education and Training.
7. Together, the 10 bilateral U.S. missions to ASEAN member states and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta have over 5.5 million followers across social media platforms.
8. Since 2012, the United States has helped to protect and conserve approximately 64 million acres of forest lands and coastal areas in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines – an area roughly the size of Laos or Oregon.
9. Over the last six years, the United States has supported access to clean drinking water for over 5.6 million people in ASEAN region.
10. The United States has supported more than 2,700 Southeast Asians studying in U.S. educational institutions over the last six years.

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.