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Asean Essay

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The Quest for ASEAN Economic Community through Consensus Building

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began on August 8, 1967, when Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, settled their differences and decided to form the group due to the prevailing geopolitical conditions. Fresh from the debilitating effects of historical antagonism brought upon by territorial disputes drawn by colonial division, the power vacuum left by decolonization is quickly replaced by Cold War polarization. The need to stay neutral and insulate them from big power rivalry becomes a necessity for the newly independent states who have grown tired of foreign domination and intervention and just wants to live in harmony and prosperity
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This landmark agreement defined the group’s development and organizational initiatives from its inception until its current ten member states’ configuration. ASEAN adopted the principles of consensus decision-making and flexibility, which is an indirect pledge of non-aggression and good faith. Since then, ASEAN’s negotiations were carried out on the basis of accommodating every member state’s position as much as possible. There is always the use of constant consultations and discussions until a viable consensus is reached. This seems to have worked to bolster relations internally and somehow preserve each participant’s sovereignty. It was also during this time that ASEAN declared the group's pursuit of political stability and economic prosperity through the ASEAN Concord. It was supported by establishing a secretariat to further consolidate its achievements and expand cooperation in economic, social, cultural and political fields.
Asian Financial Crisis

In 1997, the group was suddenly faced by a financial crisis which brought down the economic gains of each member state at that time to catastrophic levels, especially Indonesia and Thailand. The group responded by pursuing an integrated economic policy and made the historic decision of transforming the region into a single market and
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