- 15 Apr 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
- Leaders from China, Japan and South Korea joined the summit.
- ASEAN leaders have warned of the crippling economic cost of Covid-19 and called for trade routes to reopen to protect jobs and food supplies, as well as the stockpiling of medical equipment.
- The Covid-19 has ruined the region's tourism and export-reliant economies.
- Vietnam has urged Southeast Asian leaders to set up an emergency fund to tackle the coronavirus.
- Existing Fears on the impact of Covid-19 on the Region:
- Limited testing in Indonesia has resulted in the lower number of cases -- and under 400 deaths -- for a country of 260 million.
- Health systems from Myanmar to Laos are widely believed to be missing the true scale of infections.
- A recent surge in cases in Singapore has raised fears the pandemic could rebound in places which had batted back the initial outbreak.
- The Thai economy, the second largest in ASEAN, is expected to shrink by 5.3% in 2020 -- a 22-year low -- with millions left jobless.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
- ASEAN is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation.
- It was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the founding fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
- ASEAN countries have a total population of 650 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.8 trillion.
- The group has played a central role in Asian economic integration, signing six free-trade agreements with other regional economies and helping spearhead negotiations for what could be the world’s largest free trade pact.