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ASEAN is more than it may seem

Regional grouping is still relevant after all these years

| Vietnam
Signing of Bangkok Declaration, Aug.8, 1967 (Courtesy of ASEAN Secretariat)

The world widely assumed that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was an economic community like the European Economic Community when it came into being. It may look as if it is a regional economic grouping. But that was not the purpose behind the establishment of ASEAN in 1967.

The countries of Southeast Asia may be close to each other geographically. But they have very different backgrounds, particularly in terms of their divergent experiences in the colonial era.

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