ASEAN was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration by the five founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Its stated goal was to promote regional stability, cooperation, trade, and economic growth. During the 1990s, the bloc's membership expanded. Brunei Darussalam joined on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten member states of ASEAN.
ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the heads of member states in 1997, calls for integrating ASEAN economies into a single production base, creating a regional market, fully integrated into the global economy and characterized by equitable economic development of its constituent members. The Declaration of ASEAN Concord II in 2003 (also known as Bali Concord II) envisions a “stable and highly competitive ASEAN region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investments and a freer flow of capital …”. The Eminent Persons Group report on the ASEAN Charter in December 2006 recommends “particular attention should be given to strengthening economic linkages, (and) ensuring infrastructure and ICT connectivity between ASEAN Member States”. In 2006, ASEAN Economic Ministers recommended accelerating the integration process and creating a full-fledged economic community by 2015 rather than 2020 — a recommendation that was adopted by the ASEAN Summit held in January 2007.
For regional economic growth to occur, infrastructure development and logistics are essential for increased intra-regional flows of goods, services, and investments. The “sinews” of regional economic development, quite literally, are the roads, bridges, ports, rail, airways, and energy and telecommunication networks. Cross-border infrastructure (CBI) development is crucial for enhanced regional cooperation and economic integration. There have been a series of policy declarations, summit agreements, and concords in the many ASEAN communiqués that refer to the promotion of CBI development.