[1 ] All ASEAN documents mentioned in this paper, as highlighted in bold font, are available on the web site of the ASEAN Secretariat at : www.aseansec.org
 East Timor, which gained independence in May 2002, has expressed an interest in joining ASEAN in the future. So far both ASEAN and East Timor have agreed to take some more time to learn more about each other. The Foreign Minister of East Timor was invited to the 35th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, in July 2002 as Guest of ASEAN. East Timor has also informed ASEAN of its wish to accede to the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as a regional State, and to apply for the Observer status in ASEAN. Meanwhile, East Timor has reportedly been accorded the status of Special Observer in the Pacific Islands Forum. Papua New Guinea is in the Pacific Islands Forum; it was accorded in 1976 the status of Special Observer in ASEAN (with no intention to join ASEAN as a member), and it was the first in 1989, and so far the only non-regional State, to accede to the TAC.
 There is no political/security cooperation in a Sectoral Dialogue relationship. Pakistan does not attend the annual AMM/PMC or the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
 The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand also had separate meetings with the ASEAN Leaders on the sidelines of the Second ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur in August 1977. But there were no such meetings with Australia and New Zealand during the Third ASEAN Summit in Manila in December 1987.
 The main event of the ARF is the day-long annual meeting of Foreign Ministers on the fringes of the AMM. Participants in the ARF are : Foreign Ministers of all the ASEAN Member Countries and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, all the 10 ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners (not including the UNDP), Papua New Guinea (as a Special Observer in ASEAN), Mongolia and the DPRK. Pakistan and East Timor have expressed their keen interest to join the ARF. At the 9th ARF in Bandar Seri Begawan in July 2002, the ARF Ministers agreed to defer participation of Pakistan and East Timor in the ARF until the right timing.
In between the annual ARF ministerial meetings, participating countries take part in a growing number of political/security/defence meetings, workshops and other cooperation activities. The ARF has established only one supporting body, i.e. the Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG-CBM). In this 2002-2003 inter-session year, the ISG-CBM is co-chaired by Laos and New Zealand. At the 9th ARF, the Ministers agreed to establish a new inter-sessional meeting on counter terrorism and transnational crime (ISM-CT/TC). It will be co-chaired by Malaysia and the US. ISM is ad hoc in nature; it will be discontinued once the ARF Ministers deem it no longer necessary. The ARF had ISMs on peace-keeping operations and on disaster relief operations in the past; they were discontinued a few years ago.
 In 1992, ASEAN had only six members : Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
At first, AFTA was to be created in 15 years starting in 1993. Just one year after implementation, the six ASEAN members quickly realized that their original 15-year target was too conservative. The ASEAN Economic Ministers in 1994 agreed to accelerate the realization of AFTA from 15 to 10 years, by 1 January 2003, instead of 2008.
Immediately after Viet Nam joined ASEAN in July 1995, Laos and Myanmar in July 1997, and Cambodia in April 1999, each of the new Member Countries was given a 10-year timetable to complete implementing the CEPT Scheme.
At the Sixth ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi in December 1998, ASEAN Leaders agreed that the six older ASEAN Member Countries would accelerate their implementation by one year to complete AFTA in their countries by 1 January 2002.
 ASEM could be attributed as the brainchild of Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who wanted to see East Asia develop a stronger inter-regional link with the EU.
Participation in ASEM is on the individual national basis; ASEAN Member Countries do not go in as a group. Hence ASEAN membership does not automatically qualify Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to join ASEM; and the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat are not involved in ASEM.
On the other hand, as far as the EU is concerned, every new EU member would also participate in ASEM as part of the EU’s foreign policy exercise. And the President of the EC Commission also participates in the biennial ASEM.
Viet Nam will be the host of the Fifth ASEM in 2004. A concerted effort is underway to lobby for support of China, Japan and the RoK for the candidatures of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to join ASEM in time for the Fifth ASEM in Viet Nam.
 Until the end of 1992, the head of the ASEAN Secretariat was designated as the Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat. His appointment to a 3-year term was based on alphabetical rotation among ASEAN Member Countries.
Following the major restructuring of ASEAN mechanisms in 1992, the head of the ASEAN Secretariat was re-designated as the Secretary-General of ASEAN and was accorded the Ministerial status. His selection is based on merit as well as nomination from Member Countries. The Secretary-General is appointed to a 5-year term by the ASEAN Heads of Government/State.
The current Secretary-General of ASEAN, Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr. from the Philippines will complete his term at the end of 2002. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, press secretary to the Prime Minister of Singapore, has been nominated by ASEAN Foreign Ministers to succeed Mr. Severino. His appointment is expected at the upcoming Eighth ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on 4-5 November 2002.
 The other two Japanese proposals in the “Hashimoto Doctrine” called for active cooperation between ASEAN and Japan “to preserve and restore cultural heritages, and to maintain and development unique cultures”; and joint initiatives to tackle problems confronting the international community such as “terrorism, the environment, enhancing health and welfare, food and energy shortages, population growth, AIDS, narcotics, and reinforcing the rule of law”.
 After the First Summit in Bali on 23-24 February 1976, ASEAN Leaders met in Kuala Lumpur in the Second Summit in Kuala Lumpur on 4-5 August 1977, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of ASEAN (ASEAN was established in Bangkok on 8 August 1967). The Third Summit was held in Manila on 14-15 December 1987 (the 20th anniversary of ASEAN). The Fourth Summit was held in Singapore on 27-28 January 1992.
In Singapore, ASEAN Leaders agreed to convene a summit every three years. Hence, the Fifth Summit in Bangkok was held in 1995. In Bangkok, ASEAN Leaders further agreed to convene an informal summit in each of the two years in between the two formal summits. The 1st Informal Summit was held in Jakarta on 30 November 1996. The 2nd Informal Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14-16 December 1997. In 1998, the Sixth Summit was in Ha Noi on 15-16 December 1998. The 3rd Informal Summit was in Manila on 27-28 November 1999; and the 4th Informal Summit was held in Singapore on 22-25 November 2000.
At the 4th Informal Summit, ASEAN Leaders agreed to meet in an annual summit without the distinction of it being either formal or informal summit. State ceremonies and preparatory meetings would be minimized, while papers and documents reduced to a necessary minimum. The emphasis would be on providing a congenial atmosphere for ASEAN leaders to discuss issues of their common interest.
The Seventh Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan on 5-6 November 2001 was the first summit held under the new format. This year the Eighth ASEAN Summit will be held in Phnom Penh on 4-5 November 2002.
 The “parties concerned” in the disputes in the South China Sea usually refer to Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam on the ASEAN side and China. Taiwan has laid claims over many disputed areas in the South China Sea and militarily occupied some of the disputed islands. But Taiwan has never been involved in the ongoing ASEAN-China process to draw up a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
One recent new development in ASEAN involves the drafting of a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The term “Parties” here refers to all the ASEAN Member Countries and China. The Declaration, once it has been adopted jointly by ASEAN Member Countries and China, will be taken as an interim step towards the adoption of a joint political code of conduct in the South China Sea.
 Dr. Suthad Setboonsarng, Deputy Secretary-General (Operations) represented the ASEAN Secretariat to attend the first two EAVG meetings; the author of this paper attended the last three EAVG meetings.
 The EAVG Report is available on the ASEAN Secretariat’s web site, at the section about the Seventh ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan in November 2001.