Singapore was one of the founding members of ASEAN when it was formed on 8 August 1967, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

As a small nation-state, Singapore strongly supports ASEAN’s goal of building a strong, prosperous and rules-based ASEAN. The ASEAN Community, comprising the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), was established on 31 December 2015. In order to spur further regional integration, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and its three blueprints at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015. To support these Community-building efforts, ASEAN has also instituted the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC).

The success of ASEAN rests on its open, inclusive and outward-looking nature. In this vein, ASEAN has established Dialogue Partnerships with ten parties: Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States. Each ASEAN Member State is appointed to coordinate relations with a Dialogue Partner; Singapore is the country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations from August 2015 to August 2018. In addition to the Dialogue Partnerships, ASEAN-led platforms including the ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, have helped to develop predictability in interactions amongst its members, thus enhancing confidence-building and contributing towards regional stability.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Manila, the Philippines, from 12 to 14 November 2017.  The ASEAN Leaders took stock of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and discussed ways to take ASEAN forward.  They also signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.  

The ASEAN Leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues with their counterparts during the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Summit, the 12th East Asia Summit, and Summits with China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United Nations.  They also held Commemorative Summits with Canada, the European Union, and the United States to mark the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN’s relations with these Dialogue Partners.  At the 20th ASEAN-China Summit, the Leaders announced the official commencement of negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Prime Minister Lee also delivered remarks at the Closing Ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on 14 November 2017 as Singapore takes on the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018.


Within ASEAN, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was formally realised on 31 December 2015, following the signing of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community on 22 November 2015. The AEC is the cornerstone of ASEAN’s efforts towards deeper regional integration and is aligned with Singapore’s interests for a more open trade regime in ASEAN.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed FTA between the ten ASEAN member states and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs, , namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. The RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognising the individual and diverse circumstances of the participating countries.

Beyond advancing our economic interests, these intra and inter-regional FTAs help build a web of strategic linkages for Singapore within the region and with countries outside the region. They serve the broader interest of anchoring the presence of our major trading partners in Southeast Asia, and ensuring that they remain as stakeholders here. These FTAs also help to sustain an open regional orientation and prevent the formation of inward-looking trading blocs. This web of interlocking economic and strategic interests will contribute to regional stability, prosperity and security.

More information can be found on the official ASEAN Secretariat website.

Last updated: December 2017