During its first summit, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declared, among other things, its intention to pursue ‘cooperative action in their national and regional development programmes’ and to ‘develop awareness of regional identity and exert all efforts to create a strong ASEAN community’.1

The ASEAN Concord, signed in Bali, Indonesia, in February 1976, which became the basis of future agreements of the organisation, was updated in October 2003 when ASEAN came back to Bali for its Ninth Summit. After more than 25 years, and with the addition of four new members, perspectives are mixed as to how far the organisation has progressed in terms of developing a community.