ASEAN summits and major achievements

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The 17th Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit will be held in Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi on Thursday.

"Towards the ASEAN Community: from vision to action" is the theme of the 17th ASEAN Summit, which highlights issues including ASEAN Community building, ASEAN Charter implementation, ASEAN external relations, sustainable development and tackling global challenges.

ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967 in Bangkok by the five original member countries -- Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

It was preceded by an organization called the Association of Southeast Asia, consisting of only Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand that was formed in 1961.

Brunei joined ASEAN in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, bringing it into 10-member organization.

The latest official figures showed that the ASEAN region, with a total population of about 584 million and a total area of 4.44 million square km, saw its combined GDP amount to some 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars.

The highest decision-making organ of ASEAN is the ASEAN Summit. The summit is convened twice every year. It is held on a rotational basis by the country which holds the chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee. The ASEAN Secretariat is located at Jakarta, Indonesia. Since the inception in 1967, ASEAN has held 16 summits.

At the 9th ASEAN Summit in 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established. At the 10th ASEAN Summit in 2004, ASEAN leaders adopted the Plans of Action of the ASEAN Security Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007, the leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015 and signed the Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

At the 13th ASEAN Summit in November 2007, ASEAN leaders signed the ASEAN Charter and The Declaration on the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint

At the 14th ASEAN Summit in February 2009, ASEAN leaders signed the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015). They also adopted a number of important documents that are of strategic importance to the ASEAN development.

The 15th ASEAN summit was held in October 2009. To push forward the ASEAN community building, leaders at the summits adopted the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Inauguration of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on Strengthening Cooperation on Education to Achieve an ASEAN Caring and Sharing Community, and Draft ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change.

At the 16th ASEAN Summit in April 2010, ASEAN countries signed the Protocol to the ASEAN Charter on Dispute Settlement Mechanisms. ASEAN leaders adopted two statements: ASEAN Leaders' Statement on Sustained Recovery and Development, and ASEAN Leaders' Statement on Joint Response to Climate Change.

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