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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines to combat communism. It signed trade agreements with Japan (1977) and the European Community (1980) in order to reduce tariffs and promote free trade. It has now grown to include 10 countries, one of which (Vietnam) has a communist government.

ASEAN's current stated aims and purposes are to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.[1]

ASEAN member states